RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – Two Rio Rancho eighth-graders at The ASK Academy built a Lego Sumo Robot. Then, they took it to an international competition and competed against hundreds of other students.

“The robots are trying to push each other out of the ring,” Abigail Catanzaro said. “They can use different methods, like using a scoop or using brute force.”

You concur your opponent by being the last robot in the ring, by taking out the most components, and if you had any extra time left after two minutes. “Sometimes pieces will fall off but you just got to put them back on and start again,” Catanzaro said.

Catanzaro and Garnet Waldrop could spend hours talking to you about their favorite hobby: robotics.”It’s an EV3 Lego Mindstorm,” Waldrop said. In other words, a Lego robot, and his name is Larry.

“Larry was my dad’s name,” Waldrop said. Larry’s insides are made up of Lego parts and his outer shell is covered in metal.

“We were able to build a cover for their robot,” Darren Beckett said

Beckett is the Chief Technology Officer for Sigma Labs. The tech company had the technology the two eighth-graders needed.”We have a 3D metal printer,” he said. “This gave the engineers a chance to connect with the next generation and these ladies a chance to see the engineering process.” But that metal component changed everything.

“We had gotten switched into a different division,” Waldrop said. A different, tougher division when the girls left for China to compete at RoboRAVE International.

“We were scared, so we just kind of said, whatever happens, happens,” Waldrop said.

“But we did really good considering we were going up against a bunch of older kids with stronger robots,” Catanzaro said.

So good, the duo placed 11th out of 27 teams in their division, most of whom were boys. They also placed the highest out of all the teams that competed from their school.

“They wanted to battle us because they thought they were going to win,” Waldrop said. “After it all, we came out knowing a lot more about 3D printing and engineering.”