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Navajo Mountain robotics team headed to championships for first time

First Published      Last Updated Apr 08 2017 12:41 pm

Competition » Rookie team from tiny school raises funds to compete in Houston contest.

The Navajo Mountain High School robotics team qualified to compete in the FIRST Robotics Championships in Houston, Texas – an accomplishment the newly formed team never anticipated.

The team is looking to raise about $11,000 to travel and compete in the championship, taking place April 19-22 in Houston. The team secured its spot in the championship after winning the Rookie All Star Award at the Idaho Regional FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition March 31- April 1 in Boise, Idaho.

Team members from the remote, 32-student school are competing in robotics for the first time this year, under the supervision of science teacher Daniel Conrad.

The team created a GoFundMe page with the hope of raising money for travel costs to Houston, as well as the event's entry fee, airfare, hotels, food and ground transportation.

By noon on Saturday, the team had exceeded the $10,000 fundraising goal set when its web page went live April 3, at www.gofundme.com/naatisaan-robotics-frc-championship.

The team's first competition was the Utah Regional FIRST Robotics Competition March 10 and 11 in Salt Lake City, where the rookie team finished 36th and took home the Rookie Inspiration Award.

Competing in Houston would be an experience of a lifetime for the team, said Conrad, adding that many on the team have never been on an airplane before, let alone traveled as far as Houston.

"Our goal at every competition has been the same, to try to the best of our ability," Conrad said Friday. "We started the season not knowing if we could even build a robot and compete and now we are going to the world championships."


Twitter: @kelgiffo