Thursday, February 28, 2019

Opportunities to Learn & Compete

There are lots of events coming up before and after World Championship, more opportunities to compete with this year's robot, and chances for coaches and students to travel to conferences. These events are in chronological order. Read on! 

Space Station Downlink Call at Coconino High School
Coconino High School, home of the CocoNuts, in collaboration with Lowell Observatory has been selected to host a NASA Downlink and talk LIVE to the International Space Station next week! You can tune in for free on NASA TV and watch students from Flagstaff schools get their questions answered by astronaut Anne McClain as she orbits in the Space Station. 

Date: March 6, 2019
Time: 11:25 am - 11:45 am Arizona Time

FIRST Tech Challenge Skirmish
Looking for a chance to practice before the Championship? Are you refereeing and need some extra field time? Head over to the Dragon's Lair for a Skirmish! 

Date: Monday, March 11, 2019
Time: 9 am to 3 pm
Where: American Leadership Academy Queen Creek High School Cafeteria
23908 S. Hawes Rd., Queen Creek, AZ 85142
Contact: Please contact David Doig directly if your team would like to participate. 

Sierra Nevada Robotics Showcase
March 16, 2019
Carson City Nevada
Cost: $100 for FIRST Tech Challenge Teams, $25 for FIRST Lego League Teams
Limited to the 1st 25 teams from each program to register - See the flyer for more information.

FIRST National Advocacy Conference
June 23-25, 2019
Washington, DC
FIRST Teams are invited to come and learn how to advocate for STEM education and FIRST and meet with their congressmen in person. 
Register by April 1 and get a game piece signed by Dean & Woodie!

Maryland Tech Invitational
June 29-30, 2019
John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland
Teams are invited via an application process. Applications are due March 23. See the MTI website for more details

Air Force Leadership Training for FIRST Mentors
July 14-18, 2019
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, OH
Applications due May 10, 2019

This all-expenses-paid experience is excellent! Christine went last year and highly recommends it!!!

Lunar Legacy Invitational
July 19 & 20, 2019 
Northern Arizona University Fieldhouse, Flagstaff, AZ

Come celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing by testing your robot where NASA tested theirs! This 2-day invitational event will feature three robotics events: FIRST Lego League "Into Orbit", FIRST Tech Challenge "Rover Ruckus," and the "Apollo Next Giant Leap Student Challenge "ANGLeS" (a drone & robotics challenge designed to replicate the lunar landing). 

FIRST teams are encouraged to start ANGLeS teams and bring them to compete in Flagstaff...what a great way to get new students interested in robotics! 

In addition to competing, teams will tour Lowell Observatory and visit the sites in Flagstaff where NASA tested the Apollo lunar rover and trained astronauts to go to the Moon! Teams will also have the option of staying in the dorms on the NAU campus. 

This event will be opened to robotics teams from all over the country! We're working out pricing and registration details and will get more information out to you all soon. 

Thursday, February 21, 2019




Flagstaff was basically shut down for two days, and is still trying to dig out today. Check out a couple of articles from around the state about this snow storm:
AZ Central
Friday's AZ Daily Sun
Saturday's AZ Daily Sun

This wasn't an easy decision for us, but we think it was the safest. On the bright side, you all have another month to get your robots ready to compete at the AZ & NM Championship! 

PLEASE: Take the next month to do fundraising and planning for World Championship. We will still advance 4 teams to Worlds, but you will only have 3 weeks to put a trip together if you qualify. 

Stay safe and warm, and GO TEAMS!!!!

Monday, February 18, 2019

Duel at the Qualifier Results

Duel at the Qualifier Event Results
Congrats to all the teams that competed in Chandler, and thank you to FTC Team 14886 Cobra Strike for putting on such an awesome event!

Inspire Award: 13309, botCatz
Winning Alliance: 14584, Pioneer 327 & 12884 Bucephalus
Finalist Alliance: 15461, Tech Cat Robotics & 13309, botCatz
Think Award: 15461, Tech Cat Robotics
Connect Award: 8499, RoboHawks
Collins Aerospace Innovate Award: 12884, Bucephalus
Design Award: 10246, Midnight Cicadas
Motivate Award: 115186, Lady Falcons
Control Award: 14584, Pioneer 327
Judges Award: 11529, Navajo Code Writers

Teams Advancing to the Championship: 
12884, Bucephalus
15461, Tech Cat Robotics
14886, Cobra Strike

We can't wait to see how the Arizona & New Mexico Championship plays out! Stay tuned for the live stream links from the Grand Canyon & Enchantment Divisions!!! 

Feel free to join us in Flagstaff to cheer on your favorite competing teams (and maybe even play in some snow!) We have all the volunteers we need, but enthusiastic spectators are always welcome! Thank you to everyone who volunteered.


Friday, February 15, 2019

Rules Reminders for Championship

Hey Championship teams, 
We hope you're all crazy excited for the AZ & NM Championship event next week in Flagstaff! As we get closer, we'd like to remind you of a few rules to help you have a great event. 

Be sure to come to the field with a charged battery. If we're waiting for a battery to be replaced while a robot is being placed on the field, a delay of game penalty will be called. 

Be sure that when you place your robot in the latched position that it easily clears the 4" required to be considered latched. We saw some teams riding a razor thin margin a few times. If your robot doesn't meet the 4" margin right away, you will have one chance to correct it. After that, the match will be played and the team will not get points for deploying in autonomous. 

We gave 4 yellow cards for violations of rule S2, robot arm extensions outside the field perimeter. Please keep your robot under control and our field crew safe!

Remember to play the game to the best of your team's ability, and not try to play a strategy that exploits the game rules. Teams have been doing a great job of this so far this season - Keep It Up!

If there is a question about a call on the field, remember that only ONE team member may stand in the question box to address the Head Referee. We will not review photos or videos or matches. 

It's a good idea to review both Game Manuals and the Rules Updates prior to the competition, especially if your team qualified early and hasn't played recently. 

This should go without saying, but remember that each team only gets one robot. Many schools have multiple teams, and some teams may be moving forward to the Championship while others are not. Each team must bring the robot that played and qualified to the Championship. Teams may not swap their robot out for another team's. While we expect that modifications will be made to the robot throughout the season, showing up with an entirely different robot is grounds for disqualification. See Rule T7 in Game Manuel Part 1 for more details.  

Gracious Professionalism is about more than just your interactions on the field or in the judging room, it's about how your team interacts with EVERYONE, including everyone within your team. We have over 100 volunteers coming to make this event special for you. If a team member, coach, mentor or parent is rude to any volunteer or to another team, it will be reported to the Judge Advisor. We can and will disqualify teams from awards for poor behavior on or off the playing field...we've done it before, and will do it again if necessary.

We remind you of this so that ALL teams, volunteers, and spectators have the best possible experience, and come away inspired, no matter the outcome of the tournament. Remember, whether your team wins an award or finishes first or last, making it to the Championship is worth celebrating! If you're coming to the Championship with the mindset of providing a great experience for the hardworking students, then we welcome you! 

Please take some time with your team to review Gracious Professionalism and the FIRST Core Values prior to the competition. We highly recommend page 7 of Game Manual Part 1 and the video by Dr. Woodie Flowers explaining GP.


Duel at the Qualifier Live Stream

Good Luck to all the teams competing at our last Qualifier this weekend, the Duel at the Qualifier! Find out who the last teams to qualify for the AZ & NM Championship will be!

Thank you to the Cactus High School media team for providing the live stream! Check out all the action on here!


Air Force Leadership Experience & West Valley Results

Eighth Annual U.S. Air Force/FIRST Leadership Experience for
FIRST Teachers and Mentors
For the eighth year, the U.S. Air Force is offering a unique three-day leadership program providing FIRST mentors with hands-on leadership training taught by Air Force personnel. Throughout the three-day experience, mentors will attend lectures, take part in team building exercises, and tour a local Air Force Base. The Air Force will select a group of 24 teachers and mentors from FIRST® Tech Challenge and FIRST® Robotics Competition teams who are helping inspire today’s youth to become the technical leaders of tomorrow.
When:  July 14 – 18, 2019. Dates could be subject to change based on Air Force operational missions/priorities.
Where:  Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.
Who is Eligible: FIRST Tech Challenge and FIRST Robotics Competition mentors who are K-12 teachers and live within the continental United States.
How to Apply:
  • Complete the online application. 
  • Applications must be submitted by Friday, May 10, 2019.
  • As part of your application, you will have the opportunity to describe in 300 words or less how you have found a better way to get students excited about science and technology, and what innovative techniques you use to help kids learn and stay motivated. 
  • Chosen applicants will be named by Friday, May 24, 2019.
For questions, please contact Brittany Keegan at

***Christine: "I got to do last year's training and it was AMAZING!!!! Some of the best and most interesting professional development I've ever done - I highly recommend applying!!!"***

FIRST Tech Challenge HQ Engineering Internship Opportunity

Calling all graduating high school seniors or university level students! FIRST Tech Challenge has an engineering internship opportunity at our headquarters in Manchester, NH! Check it out here. We'd love to hire a FIRST Alum, so help us spread the word!

West Valley Event Results
Congrats to all the teams that competed in Chandler, and thank you to FTC Team 14624 Cat-astrophic Byte for putting on such an awesome event!

Inspire Award: 3666, Hawks Robotics
Winning Alliance: 8995, Jaegers & 12568, Vibrant Robotics & 2844, Valley X
Finalist Alliance: 7156, Wolves Robotics 2 & 6174, Automatons & 11980, Team Viper
Think Award: 6174, Automatons
Connect Award: 10523, Dragons
Collins Aerospace Innovate Award: 12889, Wyverns
Design Award: 8995, Jaegers
Motivate Award: 13517, CPR
Control Award: 10369, Robosapiens
Judges Award: 8784, Sprockets

Teams Advancing to the Championship: 
13517, CPR
7156, Wolves Robotics 2
12889, Wyverns
10369, Robosapiens
12841, +3 Robotics
14624, Cat-astrophic Byte

Friday, February 8, 2019

West Valley Live Stream & ONE LAST CHANCE!!!


There are two spots available at the February 16 Duel at the Qualifying Tournament at Cactus High School in Glendale. Contact Christine directly and quickly if you are interested. Priority will be given to teams that haven't played 3 events yet, and that haven't qualified for the AZ & NM Championship. 

Good Luck to all the teams competing at the West Valley Qualifier this weekend!

Thank you to the CocoNuts FIRST Robotics Team for providing the live stream! Check out all the action on here!


Monday, February 4, 2019

Name the Championship Field!!!

Name the AZ & NM Championship Field!!!
Thanks to the support of our amazing tournament directors, we will have a new, never-been-played-on Rover Ruckus field for the winning alliances from the Grand Canyon & Enchantment Divisions to face off on for the Championship! 

Your team can help us name the field! Submit your ideas here! The winning name will be announced at the Championship. Nominations will close February 16. 

FIRST® Tech Challenge World Championship Waitlist
The FIRST Tech Challenge Championship wait list is open! The deadline to apply is February 14, 2019. Learn more about the details of our lottery system and notifications in the blog post from FIRST.

FIRST Tech Challenge Jump Start
Looking to add a 2nd team at your school? Is another school in your district excited to start at team for next season? Spread the word about the FIRST Tech Challenge Jump Start program! Jump Start allows teams to register for the 2019/2020 season and get a robot kit now, and have their registration fee waived when the season opens in May. See more details here.