By Stan Bush

DENVER (CBS4)– Basketball arenas are normally full of screaming fans in March, but not usually for math and science.

On Saturday, a champion will be crowned at the FIRST Robotics Competition’s Denver Regional held at the University of Denver.

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(credit: CBS)

The international competition pits high school robotics programs against each other. The winners will compete in the world championship next month in Houston.

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(credit: CBS)

But the biggest prize from the competition may be earning a lasting interest in applied science.

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Francine Wright, a sophomore at George Washington High School (credit: CBS)

“It’s possible I would have diverged if I didn’t have real world application,” says Francine Wright, a sophomore at George Washington High School in east Denver.

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(credit: CBS)

Wright says she has a passion for math and science and now says she’s so excited by the field that she wants to pursue it in college.

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(credit: CBS)

“It was kind of an impulse for me. A teacher recommended I join,” says Wright.

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(credit: CBS)

The space industry is also watching the young masters of robotics. Their first steps towards a career in aerospace could be on the winner’s podium.

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(credit: CBS)

“My goal is to be an aerospace engineer,” says George Washington High School sophomore Mason Snyder. “Probably be someone in mission control working on the rockets. It’s so helpful to have this program and learn these skills.”

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(credit: CBS)

Stan Bush is a general assignment reporter at CBS4. His stories can be seen on CBS4 News at 10. Read his bio and follow him on Twitter @StanBushTV.

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