NORFOLK, Neb. -- A triumphant achievement for Rebel Robotics, a high school robotics team from Norfolk, as they clinched the first place "Think Award" at the robotics world championships. Standing out among the finest high school robotics teams from across the globe, Rebel Robotics proved themselves on the biggest stage.

Having secured the state title earlier this spring, the team embarked on a thrilling journey to Houston from April 19 to 22, where they competed against the top 200 robotics teams worldwide. The "Think Award" is given to the team that best conveys their season's journey through interviews and documentation.

Emmett Haake and Nick Miller, two members of Rebel Robotics, expressed their belief that winning the award reflects the team's comprehensive focus on all aspects of the competition.

"It's a testament to the way our team operates," Haake said. "Our team focuses on the robot as well as on the outreach aspect and documenting our entire season."

Miller echoed this sentiment, "It reflected how much we worked together as a team and how involved we worked in the community,” he said.

Reflecting on the team's performance, Haake, who dedicated seven years to this moment, expressed his pride in his team for persevering through the season's challenges.

"This is something I've always wanted to do," Haake said. "We barely made it onto the super-regional qualifier, and that was a huge letdown… but making it all the way to worlds… is something that’s been absolutely amazing.”

Rebel Robotics not only made history by becoming the first team from the Norfolk area to win an award at the World Championships, but also represented as the first northeast Nebraska-based team to participate—an honor that was not lost on Miller.

"It's the first time," Miller said. "That's really a big honor."

As a freshman, Miller eagerly anticipates future seasons and the opportunity to compete. The team has already begun designing next year's robot, driven by their determination to surpass their current accomplishments.

For Charlie Henkel, a senior, this season marks his last with Rebel Robotics. He reflects on the bittersweet feeling of concluding his seven-year journey in robotics.

"It was definitely bittersweet, dedicating myself to robotics for seven years," he shared. "To be able to finally do that was a really big moment.”

Having savored their season's achievements, the team now sets their sights on even loftier goals for the upcoming season.

“We’re excited to see what we can do next year,” Haake said. “And hopefully do even better than this year.”