DUNWOODY, GA – A rookie robotics team beat the odds, outscoring the competition and qualifying for the state championship. But after countless man-hours putting the 'bot together, they may not be able to compete.
On top of school work and homework, team members are also trying to raise thousands of dollars to make it to the state tournament.
It’s like the Big Game for robotics.
The team out of Dunwoody High School is called Wildcat 5E. Registration for the state championship is $4,000. The deadline is Wednesday. The championship is next week.
But to even get to the championship, they have to raise another $6,000 to $8,000.
They had six weeks to build the lightweight robot named ‘Massive," and an even shorter time to prepare for two qualifying competitions.
“If anything gets damaged, we have to fix it there, on the spot and quickly,” said team member Jackson Grant.
As rookies, only creating their team two months ago, Dunwoody High’s Robotics Team Wildcat 5E entered the NCAA of robot competitions and beat the odds.
With few members having solid robotics experience, they’ve gained local, state national and even global recognition.
“It’s very weird to talk about,” said Grant.
Now they've made it to the state championships in Athens and hope to beat the odds again.
“Our season would be done, and we have to try next year,” Grant said.
The team has to raise $12,000 -- $4,000 for registration and another $8,000 for the championship. If they don’t raise the money, they won’t be able to go.
“Goes toward robot parts, travel, food while we’re there,” Grant said. “We can’t travel back and forth.”
They have even pitched local businesses to sponsor them.
“We mention how we’ve done in the past competition, other people who’ve donated, and our goals for the future,” he said.
They don't qualify for county grants, because Dunwoody High already has another robotics team in another conference. What they do have is a raw passion and fast robot that they hope will eventually take them to the world championships in Houston.
“It would’ve been a lot of time that we wasted,” said team member David Knight. “But the important thing is that we get the money so we can go.”
The state championship is April 5 through 8. One of the three things the robot has to do well in competition is climb a rope by itself.
If you want to help the team, you can visit https://www.gofundme.com/wildcat5e