Virginia City's Lego robotics team competing in FIRST Championship

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VIRGINIA CITY, NV (KOLO) The Virginia City Silver Bricks are the only Lego League robotics team from Nevada to earn a spot in this week's FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Championship in Houston.

"It's a small town, not a lot of people know about it, " said team member Coen Adkins.

"I think it's really cool because Virginia City doesn't really get as much attention as it should," added fellow member Karl Valdez.

The Silver Bricks won the regional title earlier this year, beating forty other teams in their area. It's been quite the rise for a program that was founded just three years ago.

"So I saw the older level, the FTC level, they were doing an outreach presenting. And I saw their engineering notebook and their costumes and it was so impressive," said coach Nicole Frens. "And I thought that's what I want for my kids."

The Championship runs April 17-20, and consists of three presentations and a robot games. Each team was asked to find a solution for a problem humans have in space, and the Virginia City team focused on loneliness; coming up with BARF-E.

"It stands for best augmented reality friend earth," said team member Aidan Troska.

"It can do two things really. One is it can be a virtual reality assistant, where it can help you socially and emotionally," added coach Frens. "And it can also play videos where you can hi-five the video and shake the hands of the video or get a hug from the video."

They'll be scored on how well they do in the presentations, plus how their robot does in the robot games, where they do a variety of tasks and the high score wins.

"It's nervous because it's such a big competition. We've never done anything like this before," said team member Xander Frens. "But on the other side it's kind of exciting because we've never been to a competition this large before and it's really cool that we are getting this far."

"Yes, we're very excited," echoed sister and fellow team member Ayla Frens.

It won't be easy, the Silver Bricks will be competing against 108 other teams from 34 countries.

"It's such an honor to be representing Nevada, and to be from Storey county, Virginia City. Because we're tiny and we're small," said coach Frens. "And it's amazing how much the community has pulled together to help support us."

One of those sponsors is Switch, which donated a sizable portion of money to help send the team to Houston for the Championship. The rest came out of their pocket, draining their resources needed for future teams. They have set up a Virginia City Silver Bricks GoFundMe account to try and offset the costs.

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