Raiders Robotics smash the competition


Emily Borg and Synia Thrower

A lot of athletes can say they’ve recovered from an injury by the end of the season, but how many can break an arm in the first half of a competition and come back in the second half, to beat dozens of teams and claim a spot in the world championship.

That is exactly what the robot built and operated by the rio robotics team did.  

Raider Robotics is a special class where students have the ability to build robots which are later taken to a FIRST Robotics Competition(FRC). This competition is for high school students across the country to show what their team has created.

This year’s team, which has students from grades eight to twelve, was the first team in the San Juan Unified School District to make it to the world championship making it a great accomplishment. Along with being the only school in the San Juan Unified School District to make it to the championship, the team was the first in the Sacramento area.

Some Sacramento teams have gone to the championship by being chosen from a lottery. If teams go to a certain amount of competitions, they will be entered into a lottery which gives them a chance to go to championships without having to beat out the other competition.

But this team made it by actually beating out the competition with no help from the lottery.

The team was created in 2013 and has been in operation ever since.

Not only do students in robotics compete in competitions, the students create different electronic items.

“For our first project we soldered an alarm clock together, then we learned to weld and we made our own dice out of steel,” said robotics team captain Shane Becker. “From there we practiced programming and creating mini robots which got us started on creating our actual robot for competition.”

The group of students work together to create robots to show at their competitions.

They made a sign that said Raider Robotics in colorful lights, with help from students Dylan Jordan and Becker.

The class is full of talented students contributing to the teams success.

Mr. cole, the robotics coach,  has taught the team skills that they will master during the first semester of class, in preparation for competitions.

They’ve competed in competitions in Davis, Fresno, and the biggest one yet, Houston. In the Central Valley FRC competition, which took place in Fresno, the team qualified for the world championships which were held in Houston, Texas, on April 18-21.

FIRST is a program that celebrates and inspires young minds through life-changing events. Among many youth robotics programs FIRST is the oldest and largest youth robotics program throughout the world.

Although the “Raiders Robotics” team does not have the most money compared to some of the top schools for robotics, they were still able to beat out the competition and make it to the championships.

“We compete against teams that have $250,00 while we have $2,000 to build our robots,” said team member Alyssa Christopher.

Building robots can be extremely costly so if you would like to donate be sure to check out their Go Fund Me at

While competing, the teams robot’s arm came off but they were able to fix it using nail polish.

The Citrus Circuits, a team located in Davis, and Madtown Robotics, a team located in Madera formed an alliance with Raiders Robotics. Without losing a match the teams advanced to the championships.

FIRST programs say that robotics is the hardest sport for the mind.

Teams are given only six weeks, under strict guidelines, to create their robot that plays an intense field game alongside other competitors. Not only do the teams have to create a robot that can play field activities, the teams must raise their own funds to support the cost of their robots. For students in high school this competition is as close to real-world engineering as they can get.

FIRST Power Up was a challenge where teams would create their robots so they are able to place cubes onto scales. The longer teams are able to control their robots then the more points they can score.

This class offers many opportunities for students who enjoy STEM and want to create something of their own.

The championship contained many different competitors coming from across the state. “The convention where we are at has six stadiums in it and there are suppose to be 30,000 students and 300 teams, along with two other leagues,” said Becker.

Raider Robotics has accomplished many things this season and with the help of the community and others hope to accomplish much more for a very long time.