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Robotics team raising funds for state championship trip

A Pahrump youth robotics team is working to raise funds for its journey to Northern Nevada for an annual state championship.

Awkward Silence, a Pahrump Southern Nye County 4-H robotics team, will host the third annual Awkward Silence 4-H Gala, open to the public, at the Bob Ruud Community Center on Jan. 24 to raise funds for its trip to Sparks. The team is currently ranked No. 1 in Southern Nevada for the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Tech Challenge program.

Jennifer Woeger-Riendeau, who coaches Awkward Silence with her husband, Jason Riendeau, said the team is hoping to raise at least $3,000 during its gala.

Awkward Silence is one of two dozen teams fighting for the chance to compete in Sparks for the state championship in February.

Only 16 out of the 24 teams will head to Sparks in February for the state championships, and Awkward Silence is on track to go.

The 2019-20 season got underway in the fall of 2019, and Awkward Silence pushed its way to the top of the leader board for Southern Nevada at the last meet-play in December, which was held in Pahrump.

The Pahrump team also hit a record at the December meet-play. Awkward Silence now holds the record for the highest-scoring match, according to Woeger-Riendeau.

Awkward Silence has been a strong team since it formed during the 2017-18 season. The team went to the semi-finals in the statewide competition that season in Reno.

Awkward Silence isn’t the only Pahrump team to make it to the high rankings. The Pahrump Valley High School Circuit Breakers were ranked third in Southern Nevada, according to Woeger-Riendeau.

The Circuit Breakers debuted in the 2018-19 season of for the robotics competitions and went all the way in the statewide championship in Las Vegas.

Nonprofit FIRST Nevada, an organization behind several robotics competitions for youth in the state, is behind the FIRST Tech Challenge. Pahrump 4-H and multiple schools in the Nye County School District participate in the programs and competitions.

The FIRST Tech Challenge is one of several robotics programs and competitions from FIRST Nevada. The FIRST Tech Challenge is for kids ages 12-18 (seventh to 12th graders).

The gala will be held at the Bob Ruud Community Center from 6-9 p.m. on Jan. 24 at 150 N. Highway 160 and will include a silent auction, raffle and snacks.

Awkward Silence will also have its ring on display with the team’s robots. Some other area robotics teams will also be in attendance and have things on display at the event.

Awkward Silence is currently seeking donations for prizes at its gala — large or small.

For more information on Awkward Silence or to find out how to assist in their efforts, visit https://bit.ly/2uwNlh1

Contact reporter Jeffrey Meehan at jmeehan@pvtimes.com, on Twitter at MeehanLv

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