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Grand Rapids — An annual high school robotics competition is kicking off another season in Michigan and continuing its nation-leading growth.

The organizing group, FIRST in Michigan, says about 350 teams — more than any other state — are set to take part this year. District competitions have grown from 15 last year to 18, and they start this weekend.

District meets are being held through April in such communities as Howell, Traverse City, St. Joseph, Mason, Midland and Escanaba.

According to FIRST in Michigan, the goal is for 102 teams to qualify for the Michigan State Championship April 8-11 at the DeltaPlex Arena in Grand Rapids.

From there, about 60 teams will advance to the international FIRST Championship in St. Louis, April 22-25.

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