Local High School Wins NASA Competition

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RENO, NV - A group of local high school students took first place last weekend in competition that had them build a human-powered vehicle ready for travel on another world.

Students at the Academy of Arts, Careers and Technology received praise for their win in the NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge.

"It challenges high school and college students internationally to build a human powered rover and race it over a simulated extra terrestrial terrain," said Jason Christensen, Team Captain.

Students spent months building the rover; then they raced against 100 other schools at a competition in Huntsville, Alabama.

"My duty is just as fast as I can, as safely as I can, get to the finish line," said Daniel Aguirre, the lead peddler.

Aguirre and Madelyn Newcombe peddled hard. For 7/10ths of a mile they piloted the rover over bumps, through sand and across moon-like features, finishing in 3 minutes 37 seconds.

"I think we rocked it. I felt we were going pretty fast and our communication was great," said Newcombe who peddled in the back.

This is the fourth time the high school has competed in the competition. They have always placed in the top 10, but this is the first year they have taken top honors.

The students, now on top, are asking: what's next? Their principal has this message.

"The best thing that can happen is you repeat as the champions but if, not, if somebody beats you, somebody has had to amp it up so you take credit for amping up this whole program and bringing it to a higher level," said Principal Robert Sullivan.

Winning is sweet, but for many of these students the experience opened up new career opportunities.

They weren't the only ones who did well at this competition; students at Virginia City High School ended up taking 9th place.