MCKEESPORT (KDKA) – The McKeesport High School robotics team is gearing up for its biggest competition ever.

The students just returned from a trip to Maryland where they took part in a First Robotics competition.

They were required to make a robot that can toss Frisbees into different goals and they won. It was the team’s very first win at a regional competition since the club formed nine years ago.

An all-aluminum robot is top notch and was designed and built by Robotics Team 1708.

“We put a lot of time and effort in, a lot of long days, long hours and a lot of work,” Tyler Cottone said.

That hard work is paying off.

“Very excited, very, very excited. I’ve been doing this for four years, so it’s quite a long journey,” Cottone said.

“It is very exciting, to be in McKeesport. We work with very, very limited funds, what we can scrape up and to be able to compete with some of the best in the world is good,” team advisor Michael Dischner said.

The team will now compete against about 100 other teams in the national competition next week in St. Louis, but some fundraising has to happen first.

The entrance fee alone is $5,000.

The team is hoping a corporate sponsor steps up and some local companies have already chipped in.

“I’m just so thrilled, they deserve it. We’ve worked very, very hard, we’ve been working since the middle of summer,” Dischner said.

There is no big cash prize if the teens win, just recognition and a sense of pride.

Plus, there’s something else.

The robot was built in memory of a former teammate who was killed in a crash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in August of last year.

“His nickname was Rush, so that’s what we named our robot this year,” Cottone said.

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