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After robot gets hi-jacked, local robotics team steps in to help

Brandeis High School's robotics team lends a helping hand


SAN ANTONIO - Competitive robotics is a sport that continues to gain popularity. 

Wednesday marks the beginning of San Antonio robotics contest, called the Alamo FIRST competition, that brings in brilliant young engineers from around the world. 

For one team, however, their path to San Antonio has been nothing but difficult.

"I think we can do it,” said a positive Daniel Michel. "We can make it in two days."

Michel and his fellow students from the state of Durango in Mexico have 48 hours to come up with a finished robot. 

The reason for the rush stemmed from a major setback for the rookie Mexican team. 

Their original robot, which represented hours and hours of hard work, was hi-jacked as it traveled via Fed-Ex to the competition.

"The truck was stolen and our robot also, it was stolen, too,” said Guillermo Palacios, the mentor for the team.

"I was pretty sad and mad at the same time (because) we'd put a lot of work into it,” said Jerardo Martinez, a member of the team.

"Many of us cried -- me included,” added Michel.

Still, FIRST organizers implored the team to still make the trip to San Antonio, and soon their story caught the attention of Michael Blake, coach of the robotics team, the Bronc Botz, at Brandeis High School.

"My immediate reaction was, yeah, lets help them,” said Blake.

Blake opened up his home, which doubles as a robotic workshop, to the team from Mexico.

"Our shop, our parts, our hands, whatever we can do to help them, we're trying to accomplish the impossible in 48 hours,” said Blake.

When it comes to competition robotics, Brandeis High School is highly decorated, and a team which has made it to the World Championships the past two years. 

Despite a multitude of trophies, the Bronc Botz chose sportsmanship over competition.

"You can compete, but you can also help at the same time,” said Blake.

"We don't know how to say thank you enough,” said an appreciative Palacios.

The Alamo FIRST competition is open to the public and will be held at the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center. Practice begins Thursday, while competition between teams gets underway Friday morning.


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