CORNING, N.Y. (WENY) -- Twenty-four teams from across New York State made their way to Corning Painted Post High School to show off their robotics skills on Sunday afternoon.

This was a FIRST Tech challenge regional qualifier.  Students take the lead, involved in every step of the process.  They start building their robots at the beginning of the school year, and perfect their craft through practice and hardwork.

"It's really awesome! We can have fun with this and it will give us skills for the future, college and our careers." said Juliet, a student on the Mechanical Meltdown team.

"It's really fun to interact with the other teams, learn with them and play with them," added John, another student on Mechanical Meltdown.

The focus is STEM.  STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math.  Students compete in 2 1/2 minute rounds, where the robot is both autonomous and controlled by a team.  The robots have to perform a variety of tasks to get the most points, emphasizing teamwork and sportsmanship.

"FIRST Robotics is a really, really good program to get young people and kids and students involved in STEM because it combines kind of sports and STEM into one thing.  That's pretty unique because we get to compete and break records and things like that," said Graham, a senior at Corning/Painted Post High School.

The tournament was free to attend.  There was quite a crowd of students, families, and friends in attendance.  Some students say it was a fulfilling experience.

This is my first year at an event, so its just a lot of fun to be able to see this many people enjoying this activity as much as I do," said Nate, a student from Nichols School.

Teams who won at the qualifier today earn a spot at the regional tournament in March.  From there, they get a chance to compete for a spots at worlds later in the year.