Hopewell Valley Central High School’s FIRST Robotics team at competition at The College of New Jersey March 17. The team won first place.

Hopewell Valley Central High School’s FIRST Robotics team won first place at a competition at The College of New Jersey March 16 and 17.

Teams from 37 high schools competed in the USFIRST Robotics Competition in a game called Ultimate Ascent.

During the Ultimate Assent, teams are challenged to use robots to toss Frisbees into goals high on a wall and earn points for each successful attempt. At the end of each match, robots could climb the rungs of a pyramid to earn extra points.

The Hopewell team formed an alliance with teams from Piscataway and Bound Brook high schools for the final round. Their alliance scored the most points and they won the top prize.

Mid-Atlantic Robotics, the regional affiliate of USFIRST, chairman and team mentor Ed Petrillo said Hopewell’s robot had one of the most accurate shooting mechanisms in the competition. The shooting mechanism and accompanying computer program were entirely designed by the team members.

The team is set to compete in another district competition March 24 and 25 in Tabernacle.

They hope to maintain their points and qualify for the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship set for April 12 and 13 at Leigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. The top 14 teams from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware will go to the FIRST world championships, scheduled for April 25 and 27.

USFIRST stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology and sponsors competitions at various age levels designed to develop science, engineering and technology skills and leadership in young people.

More information is online at usfirst.org.