Thursday, September 21, 2023

How to be EVENT READY and other early season tips...

When your robot confronts the Truss for the first time....

Qualifying Tournament Registration Update
Welcome to the 13 new teams sponsored by Navajo Transitional Energy Company in schools on the Navajo Nation! They will be competing in northern Arizona qualifiers and a new qualifier at Dine' College in Tsalie! Please make them feel welcome and part of our AZ FTC Community. 

Over 80 teams have registered to play in AZ events! All teams have two confirmed events at this point. Most teams got their 1st and 2nd choice, a few got their 3rd event choice or alternate. We're also excited that so many teams are taking the opportunity to play early by signing up for a November tournament - both events will be full!

A special thank you to our tournament directors from Road Runner (Anna), White Mountain (Cory) and Red Rock (Annalisa), Turquoise (Matt) and Copper (David) who increased their tournament capacities to allow more teams to play!!!

We will be assigning 3rd events on Monday Sept. 25. We anticipate several events filling before all teams that requested them are assigned their 3rd play. 

These events are expected to fill early in round 3:
  • Nov. 18 Road Runner, Gilbert
  • Dec. 9 High Country, Flagstaff
  • Jan. 27 Valley of Sun, Glendale
  • Feb. 3 Copper, Queen Creek
These events are expected to have some space available after round 3
  • Nov. 18 White Mountain, Show Low
  • Dec. 16 Diamondback, Tucson
  • Jan. 13 Palo Verde, Goodyear
If your third choice is full, we will look at your selected alternates. If your alternates are also full, we will send you a message letting you know which events have available space for your team. If your team is flexible and would like to updated your alternates based on the list above, please email Christine.

Even though tournaments are still two months off, now is the time to be getting your team ready to compete. The checklist below MUST be completed for your team participate in official events - we actually can't add teams to the scoring system without these!
  • Lead Coach 1 & 2 - complete in your dashboard
    • Click on your name in the upper right
    • Click "Acknowledgement forms" and complete Consent & Release, FIRST Code of Conduct, and Youth Protection policy. 
    • On the same page, click Youth Protection Screening on the left side. If you need to complete your screening, please go to the website and enter your information. If you're a returning coach, check when your screening expires. 
  • FIRST Registration
    • Required every season - $295 per team per season
    • Check out through your FIRST Dashboard after check, PO, grant funding, or credit card payment has been sent to FIRST.
    • We can't add your team to the event unless this is done!
  • Youth Registration
    • All student members of your team are required to register with FIRST and have a parent or guardian sign the season consent form. 
    • Instructions can be found here.
    • New this season - coaches can generate a QR code from their dashboard to expedite youth registration (starting September 21). 
      • Through the new Express Enrollment application, you can generate web links or QR codes in the FIRST Dashboard to share with parents and guardians of youth participants to invite them to register for FIRST and join the team roster.
    • Team rosters showing completed consent forms will be emailed to Susan by the Friday before your event. 
  • Tournament Payment
    • Invoices will be sent to each team by the end of next week. Tournament registration fees are $225 for two events and $300 for three events. 
    • Qualifying tournament payment is due by November 17 for all teams and all events. 
    • Need help paying for your tournaments? Apply for a Registration Grant from the CocoNuts!
    • Payment instructions will be included on the Invoice (so please be sure to read it! :)

Tech Tip of the Week

This week’s Tech Tip of the Week is a video full of tech tips from AJ Foster, FIRST® Tech Challenge World Championship FIRST Technical Advisor and Orlando Robotics League All-Star Volunteer. AJ gives a great synopsis of many of the key technical updates for the CENTERSTAGESM presented by RTX season and some background on those changes. Watch his video on the FIRST® Tech Challenge YouTube Channel.

Friday, September 15, 2023


Thank you to all our workshop presenters, coaches, mentors, and tournament hosts for Kickoff of the CENTERSTAGE season with a lot of energy and enthusiasm! 

Centerstage Resources 

Be sure to visit the official Game and Season Info page for all things CENTERSTAGE - the game manuals, animation, team resources and more! Check back often, as new materials are added throughout the season. 

Arizona Kickoff Workshops can be viewed and downloaded here. 

Teachers: Get PD hours for Kickoff

NAU Center for Science Teaching and Learning is offering Professional Development Certificates for Kickoff that you can use for salary advancement or recertification! Fill out this short survey to get yours!

Qualifying Tournaments - What you need to know about registration!

  • Some events are going to fill in round one!
  • If you want to play Nov 18 and willing to travel to Show Low, please let me know - Show Low can host 24 teams!
  • 1st and 2nd events will be assigned Monday September 19
    • Depending on capacity, teams could be assigned be any combination of 1st/2nd/3rd choice or alternate but each team will get two confirmed events! 
    • Look at the roster link (to the right) starting at about 5 pm for your assignments.
    • There is a tab for each event at the bottom.
  • Put in your choices by Monday
    • We are assigning 1st and 2nd September 18
    • 3rd events are assigned September 25
    • Invoices will go out by September 29
    • Payment is due November 17
  • Hosting a scrimmage? Send us dates, times, contact information, address!

Meet the Field hosted by Team Viper, #11980
Saturday Sept. 23 
3pm - 6pm 
Free carne asada dinner served at 5pm!
San Miguel High School gym
6601 South San Fernando Road
Tucson, AZ 85756
Contact is Bro. Jack - cell (559) 779-4555

FIRST Tech Challenge Game Q&A Forum
The FIRST Tech Challenge Game Q&A Forum will open on Monday, September 18, at 12:00 p.m. ET. This forum allows teams to ask questions about gameplay, competition rules, judging rules, robot build rules, field setup and team provided element construction. Please see our instructions on accessing the official game Q&A form. Please read both Game Manual Part 1 and 2 prior to posting questions to the forum. Learn more in our blog post here!

Software Development Kit Update
The Software Development Kit (SDK) 9.0 contains a default TensorFlow model that can detect the white Pixel used as the default Randomization Object. The sample code built into the SDK uses this default model, so teams can load the sample code and immediately begin testing and understanding the properties of the default model. The TensorFlow for CENTERSTAGE document on ftc-docs is intended to help teams understand the default model, understand the challenges with recognizing objects like the Pixel, and provides tips for teams when choosing their own Team Prop.

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Are you ready to TAKE THE STAGE???




Get excited for the new season, connect with friends, learn new skills and...oh yeah, SEE THE NEW GAME at the Arizona Kickoff! The Arizona FTC Kickoff will be on September 9, 2023 at the Arizona State University Memorial Union. 

Address: 301 E Orange St., Tempe, AZ 85281

Parking: Park in the Apache parking structure. Parking is $16 per day for standard-sized vehicles. 

Oversized vehicles (buses and minibuses) can unload students on Apache Blvd. and park in Lot 3 (near Gammage). It's a straight walk from Gammage to the MU. See the map below. 


  • 7:30: Doors Open
  • 8:30: AZ Season information
  • 10:15: Workshops
  • 11:15: Lunch on your own (lots of options in the union)
  • 12:00: Workshops continue
  • 3:00: Event ends

There are 20+ workshops being offered for teams!!! Don't miss this chance to kickoff your season by learning something new. Workshops are open to all students and mentors. The 2023 Workshop Schedule can be found HERE. 

Qualifying Tournament Registration Opens Thursday 9/7 at 9:00 AM!

Teams will be able to register starting Thursday for CENTERSTAGE qualifying tournaments! Our pricing will remain the same for the 2023/2024 season ($225 for two qualifiers, $300 for three qualifiers.) The registration form will take only 5 minutes to complete. Payment is due November 17. 

  • Nov. 18: White Mountain Qualifier, Show Low High School, Show Low
  • Nov. 18: Road Runner Qualifier, Gilbert High School, Gilbert
  • Dec. 2: Turquoise Qualifier, Valley Christian Schools, Tempe (new location)
  • Dec. 9: High Country Qualifier, Coconino High School, Flagstaff
  • Dec. 16: Diamondback Qualifier, San Miguel High School, Tucson
  • Jan. 13: Palo Verde Qualifier, Trivium College Prep, Goodyear
  • Jan. 20: Red Rock Qualifier, Microchip, Chandler
  • Jan. 27: Valley of the Sun Qualifier, ASU West Campus, Glendale
  • Feb. 3: Copper Qualifier, American Leadership Academy, Queen Creek (new location)
  • Feb. 16 & 17: Arizona Championship, Brophy High School, Phoenix

Teams must be event ready prior to competing in official events!
  • Registered and paid for the new season with FIRST
  • Have two adult lead coaches registered with the team and cleared through the Youth Protection Program
  • Qualifying Tournament Registration Payment is due November 17 for all teams. 


As the new school year begins, grants for STEM programs open. Each grant listed below has different application requirements and deadlines, so please be sure to read the information carefully. Many can be used to support robotics teams!

If your team has applied for a grant, please wait to pay your FIRST season registration until that grant has come through! 


Four winners will receive a 2023-2024 CENTERSTAGESM presented by RTX partial game set and scoring elements. Whether you are a new or returning team, having the elements used at official competitions, can help teams:

  • strategize game-play tactics
  • get hands-on experience with CENTERSTAGE game elements,
  • program your robot to exact field specifications,
  • and run practice matches

Teams just need to complete their 2023-2024 FIRST® Tech Challenge team season registration before September 14, 2023 for a chance to win the 2023 Kickoff Sweepstakes. The sweepstakes prize package includes one (1) 2023-2024 FIRST Tech Challenge season CENTERSTAGE partial game set and scoring elements, a total approximate retail value of $350.00. The package does not include field perimeter or soft tiles. If a team has already completed their FIRST Tech Challenge season registration, they are already entered into the sweepstakes.