Friday, January 29, 2021

Petrified Wood Results & Palo Verde Award Ceremony

Tune in to the Palo Verde Award Ceremony! 

Friday, January 29 at 5:00 PM Arizona Time
Live streamed by the CocoNuts

Help recognize some of your best FIRST teachers

FIRST Strategic Partner Amazon just opened their Teacher of the Year Awards to honor and recognize 10 all-star teachers working diligently to help students in underserved and underrepresented communities pursue futures in computer science and robotics. Sounds a lot like teachers who work with FIRST!  Even if they’re not currently coaching an Amazon-supported team, remind your teachers and coaches who would be great candidates to apply here. This is a great excuse to check in with some of your key teacher leaders & coaches.


FYI: Last year Mark Snodgrass, lead teacher for FIRST Robotics Competition Team 1529 from Indianapolis, Indiana, won! See more details here.

DEADLINE APPROACHING: Apply for the 2021 Apple Virtual Engineering Technology Camp
This summer, Apple is inviting a select group of high school students from across the United States to attend a special virtual version of their Engineering Technology Camp. The online 4-week program (July 12, 2021 – August 6, 2021) gives students a rare and exciting glimpse into the company as well as the opportunity to work in small groups and collaborate closely with Apple engineers. This is free and Apple will cover the cost of equipment and supplies.

As a FIRST Strategic Partner, Apple has invited FIRST to nominate students to apply for this opportunity. To apply for a FIRST nomination:

  • Complete your initial application online here by 11:59 pm ET on Sunday, January 31, 2021
    • There are limited nominations available, and not all applicants will receive the opportunity
    • Decisions are not subject to further review, nor will late applications be accepted
    • FIRST will review all applications and select nominees to receive the full Apple application in early February
    • All applicants will be informed of their status via email by Friday, February 5, 2021

Petrified Wood Qualifier Results

Inspire Award: 16279, SPARK
Dean's List Semifinalist: Alora from 12616, Mecha Knights
1st Ranked Team: 14835, Tie-Dye Samurai
2nd Ranked Team: 18421, Wings of the Griffin
3rd Ranked Team: 8995, Jaegers
4th Ranked Team: 8081, Knights of the Lab Table
Think Award: 8081, Knights of the Lab Table
Connect Award: 14254, Trivium Knight Lights
Collins Aerospace Innovate Award: 8995, Jaegers
Control Award, Sponsored by Arm, Inc: 14835, Tie-Dye Samurai
Motivate Award: 9695, Electric Eagles
Design Award: 18420, Claws of the Griffin
Judge's Award: 18701, Titan Robotics

Petrified Wood Award Ceremony

Friday, January 22, 2021

Season Schedule Updates, Anatomy of a Remote Event & Good Luck Palo Verde Teams


The graphic below gives you a sense of the timeline of a remote event. Please read it carefully so you're ready when your turn comes to compete!

As we stated in our letter to teams on January 21 the remainder of our season, including the AZ Championship, will be held remotely. We also rescheduled two qualifiers to later in the spring to maximize opportunities for teams to meet. Please check the current space available to the right and contact Patti if you would like to shift your registration to any of these later events. Thank you as always for your flexibility and patience as we navigate this pandemic together!

  • Saguaro Blossom Qualifier: February 12 to 18
  • Copper Qualifier: February 19 to 25
  • Desert Vista Qualifier: March 5 to 11
  • Turquoise Qualifier: March 26 to April 1
  • High Country Qualifier: April 16 to 22
  • Arizona Championship: May 14 to 21


Palo Verde Tree

Good luck to all the teams competing starting tomorrow in the Palo Verde Qualifier! Your tenacity and GP never cease to amaze us...we can't wait to see what you came up with. GO TEAMS! 

Tune in to the Petrified Wood Award Ceremony! 

Friday, January 22 at 4:00 PM Arizona Time
Live streamed by the CocoNuts

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Good Luck Petrified Wood Teams & February Dean's List Deadline



Petrified Wood close up

Good luck to all the teams competing starting tomorrow in the Petrified Wood Qualifier! Your tenacity and GP never cease to amaze us...we can't wait to see what you came up with. GO TEAMS! 

All Teams are invited to join us for the Award Ceremony, which will be live-streamed Friday, January 22 at 4:00 PM. The link will be posted to the blog! 

DEAN'S LIST - The deadline to nominate sophomore or junior students from your team for February Events (Turquoise, Saguaro Blossom, Copper & High Country) is FRIDAY, JANUARY 15 at 11:59 PM EST. A lot of teams are competing in these events so don't wait! Find out more about the Dean's List and how to nominate your students HERE. 

Please read the blog post dated January 7 for A LOT of great information about how to compete successfully in a remote event. 


Thursday, January 7, 2021

Remote Competition Tips & Tricks + Cactus Wren Results

Happy New Year Teams!
Thanks to all the teams that competed in our first Remote Qualifier! We're so proud of all of you and everything you accomplished. We also learned a lot from our first event!!! Please read the tips below to help your team prepare for their upcoming events. Congrats also to the teams that won awards! See the list below for details and the recap video from Cactus Wren. GO TEAMS!!!!

Judges Needed!
Our first qualifier is in the books, but we have seven more to go plus a Championship! Our primary need for volunteers is judges while we're in this remote format. Sponsors, mentors, parents, coaches, FIRST alumni, teachers, business owners and administrators all make great judges. (Just remember that the minimum age for judges is 21!) To register to volunteer, go to and sign in to your dashboard. Information on volunteering can be found HERE.


  • Be sure to use the official cloud scoring system so you time your match play to the official sound effects. Scoring can be accessed HERE.
  • If your team is not able to utilize the cloud system, you can utilize the timer available on the driver station which includes the que's signaled at a traditional event.  Utilizing a personal timer doesn't replicate the timer/signals utilized at a traditional event.  
  • Coaches should assign their scorekeepers as users in the cloud scoring system so that they can log in if the coach can't be present.  All users need to utilize their FIRST dashboard to access the scoring system if assigned.
  • THIS DOCUMENT includes the details on how to access and set up the driver control with the appropriate timer, link for score keeper test, reminder for the scoring videos and contains information about problem solving campus wi-fi access to utilize the scoring system.


  • Remember, your engineering portfolio is different than your full engineering notebook. Your portfolio is limited in length, and give the highlights of your team and robot. 
  • Your team will be provided with a link and a deadline to upload your Engineering Portfolio, Control Award Submission, and Request for Feedback prior to your event. 
  • Tips from FIRST Tech Challenge Blog

GAME PLAY TIPS - From Rich and Robert
Good Day FTC Teams, and Happy New Year! Following is a quick checklist of lesson learned from events and videos that have been posted by teams (local and throughout the FIRST Community).  This is to serve to highlight some areas of gameplay that I feel need to be reiterated. Teams should continue to review the Game Manuals and Coaches, Mentors and volunteers acting in a role of oversite for matches need to fully review, and seek to understand all aspects of gameplay and scoring.  As always, please reach out to me or Robert if you have any questions (contact info is below).  The following list highlights areas to be stressed, but this is not inclusive of all GM2 and GM1 rules, gameplay and robots you need to know.
  • Robot placement: 
    • GM2 <4.5.1> & <G13> :  Touching Audience wall, in Start line (either one), Preload Wobble Goal (touching or supported by robot), preload up to 3 Rings,
  • Robot Size: 
    • GM1 <RG2> & <G14>:  Entire robot within 18 in. cube volume.  Wobble goal and Ring may extend beyond 18 in. but no part of robot (wires, cables, arm supporting Wobble Goal…) can extend outside volume.
  • Robot Markings: 
    • GM1 <RG04>:  Team numbers must be visible from two opposite sides, 2.5 in. high and contrasting color.
    • GM1 <RG06>:   Alliance marker in accordance with color being played.  Markers must be 2.5 in. in size (Square or round per rule).
  • Driver Team: 
    • <G16>:  Positioned in Alliance Station (or Human Player) area for entire Match.
Match Scoring:
  • Wobble Goal Scoring:
    • GM2 <4.5.2>:   Autonomous period only.  Completely in Target Zone per field randomization.  <G10>:  Robot cannot be in contact with scoring element.
    • GM2 <4.5.4>:  End Game eligibility based on location of Wobble Goals.  Wobble Goals do not have to be completely in an area, but cannot be in the Launch Zone (except if in Target Zone A).
  • Power Shot Targets:
    • <GS13>  Scoring is accomplished only by ring making direct contact with a Power Shot Target during Autonomous or End Game period.  Remember, robot must launch from Completely In the Launch Zone.
  • Navigating.
    • GM2 <4.5.2>  Parked (motionless at expiration of period) in the Launch Line.
General Gameplay:
  • SAFETY: Only the robot and field elements are in the Field boundaries.  No-one may be in the field during a match after the field randomization has occurred.  Team members and anyone scoring must stay out of field during the match.
  • <GS4>  Human Player only introduces ring after Driver Period Starts and must not hold onto rings, but put them in play as soon as practical.  Warning is given for first incident of HP holding onto rings and not putting them in play, then a Minor Penalty assessed for each ring held beyond 5 sec.
  • <RG08>  Be aware of Launching force.  Ring flight restrictions are no higher than 5 ft and a distance not to exceed 16 ft.  Only launch rings with enough velocity to score into the tower.
Have a super time preparing for the next Tournament, be safe, continue to re-fresh on the Game Manuals and Forum Postings and ENJOY!!!!
Happy New Year!

Rich Gomez                                             Robert Garduno
928-310-1041                                         928-310-0341           

Cactus Wren Qualifier Results
Inspire Award: 18312, Da Geese of Freedom
1st Ranked Team: 16279, SPARK
2nd Ranked Team: 18421, Wings of the Griffin
3rd Ranked Team: 14835, Tie-Dye Samurai
4th Ranked Team: 8081, Knights of the Lab Table
Think Award: 11980, Team Viper
Connect Award: 16279, SPARK
Collins Aerospace Innovate Award: 18421, Wings of the Griffin
Control Award, Sponsored by Arm, Inc: 14835, Tie-Dye Samurai
Motivate Award: 8081, Knights of the Lab Table
Design Award: 14855, Shamocks
Judge's Award: 18291, Mech Warriors

Cactus Wren Award Ceremony