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Fresh off of a strong showing at the Ohio Educational Technology Conference, the Tallmadge Middle School robotics team is hard at work preparing for two big competitions. The robot created by Jack Markley, Tommy Mayfield and Nick Dodds recently finished second in a field of 22 at the OETC event held annually in Columbus. Now the team has its sights on winning the NEOtech conference held at Kent State University March 16 and the National Robotics Challenge held in Marion April 6 through 8. At these competitions the students will have the opportunity to enter robots into a variety of events, including “Sumo” Bots that need to push an opposing robot out of a ring to win. Other students are programming a robot that can navigate its way through a maze on its own. One group is designing a remote controlled robot that can play hockey. Others have been creating robots to play Botball — a game that requires the design, construction and programming of a robot to capture and place ping pong balls in different places of a playing area. Students meet twice a week after school for practices but many choose to work during lunch and study hall times. Pictured are Markley, Mayfield and Dodds hold their second-place plaque from the OETC Robotics Competition.