It was a competition that could help shape the future of hundreds of youngsters around Western Washington. Thousands gathered for the first Washington Lego League and Tech Challenge competitions in Kent over the weekend.

It's not unusual to find the stands packed at the ShoWare Center. They've seen plenty of team competitions here, but there were no soccer balls or hockey pucks at this event. Instead of pounding the hardwood, these teams ran the hardware.

Team 9115, Robo Thunder, had 15 students from Bellevue. Countless hours of trial and error, research and work went into building their robot for the event.

They’ve been preparing since September, but even at 13 years old, these guys know this is more than a robotics competition.

“This really helps with teamwork, you have to work with a lot of different people, and that helps with getting a job,” one of the students said.

All that work was tested for a few minutes in the ring, and the competition was tight, but Robo Thunder walked away victorious. They are champions, perhaps in more ways than one.

“It improves our overall ability in the STEM field. As we know a lot of careers in our future are going to be STEM-based,” Manmeet Ranu said.