Author Archives: Ram Rathnam

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Feedback time

Congratulations to all the teams.  We hope everyone had a great tournament.  You helped make our event special for the students.  We would really appreciate if you could take few min in providing feedback on the FTC West Super-Regional tournament. Your feedback/input is invaluable. It helps the organizing committee and volunteers.  Please pass on this link to all your team members and parents. We are trying to get feedback from student, coach/mentor, parent, volunteers, sponsors et al perspective.

Feedback survey link

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It has been an amazing day.  Most teams played 7 of their 9 qualifying matches today.  The current standings for end of day one including the match results can be accessed through these links.

Olympic Team Ranking

Olympic Qualification Match Results

Cascade Team Ranking

Cascade Qualification Match Results



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Live Stream

Interested in catching up with the tournament up and close?  We got you covered.  We will be live streaming the event – you can catch the action at the following channels:

Cascade Division –

Olympic Division –

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Final Pre-Event Email

We’re excited for another wonderful FIRST® Tech Challenge West Super-Regional Championship. This event is about team members, coaches, mentors, and volunteers coming together to create a tournament where everyone involved employs Gracious ProfessionalismTM and CoopertitionTM not as buzz words but in meaningful actions. Our actions in helping each other and our positive attitude that this is OUR event can be the tone we set for all future FTC Super Regional competitions.


  1. Event Communication
  2. Venue Updates
  3. Shipping Information
  4. Team Load-In
  5. Packing Checklist & What Not To Bring
  6. Team Check-In
  7. Overview of Friday (Judging/Inspections/Photo)
    1. List of Scheduling Blocks (morning/afternoon)
  8. Pit – General Information
  9. Gracious Professionalism
  10. Getting Your Robot Ready to Compete
  11. Ceremonies
  12. Team Socials


Please have at least one representative from your team sign up to receive text message and/or email updates during the event (and we encourage all participants and spectators to sign up!). We will be using this system only when we have information that needs to be pushed out to all teams.

  • Sign up here:
    • Or just send a text with the message “FTCWEST” to 84483



  • Canopies are allowed!! Thanks to Adrienne, event director extraordinaire, for following up with the venue and having this rule reversed.
  • Outside food is still not allowed. Teams can eat food from outside vendors outside of the building and/or in the parking garage (if it’s raining). Teams are encouraged to bring your own refillable water bottles to stay hydrated during the event (without needing to buy bottled water at the venue). Please note that the payment deadline for lunch boxes is today. The pre-order deadline for lunches has already passed. There are restaurants nearby within walking distance. The Grill inside the venue has a wide variety of items so that something should be available to cover the various exceptions we heard about – vegetarian and gluten free. Read more about food options here:



Just in! Teams can ship things directly to the venue. To do that, you must fill out an online form and follow the procedure listed there carefully. The venue charges to receive packages. It is $10.00/box, $50.00/pallet. FIRST Washington will pay the venue and then bill the individual teams for the shipping cost. The shipping does not have to be paid for before the event but FIRSTWA will ask that you do pay within 24 hrs of receiving an invoice from them.

  • Link to sign up:



Team load in is recommended from 4:00 – 6:00pm on Thursday the 8th, though we understand that some teams will be loading in on Friday. On Thursday, teams will be allowed to enter the pits for the purpose of bringing in and setting up their pit area only.  This is not intended to be time to work on the robot. Teams have two options to get to the pits.


  • Option 1: Use the Broadway entrance to the parking garage, and enter on the third floor. Take the elevator to the fifth floor pit area. Parking for this option is based on the daily rates for the parking garage. (There is also some street and other offsite parking available in downtown Tacoma)


  • Option 2 (recommended for buses): Off load at the loading dock off of Market Street – Fifth floor entrance. Volunteers will be stationed at the loading dock area to direct traffic. Vehicles will only be allowed to pull in and download onto the loading dock. Teams are responsible for securing their equipment and moving it into the building. Vehicles will depart the dock area once unloaded and move to other parking areas.



  • Team Roster (see Team Check-In section for details)
  • [Highly Recommended] Emergency contact / medical permission form for each student
  • Label all team equipment and belongings with your team number
  • Team Robot (that meets all rules as described on the ‘Robot Inspection Checklist) and all necessary equipment (batteries, sensors, etc)’
  • Safety Glasses – (must be worn by everyone entering the pit – visitors included!) Rose, blue, and amber tints are ok. Reflective lenses are not. Regular corrective vision glasses may be polycarbonate/plastic material with attached safety side shields or covered with safety goggles.
  • Close-toed shoes (must be worn by everyone entering the pit – visitors included!)
  • Spare fuses for external battery pack
  • [Recommended] Rolling cart to transport robot and other equipment
  • Written/Electronic Checklists
    • Pre-match robot check
    • Robot match setup
    • Post-match robot check
  • Engineering Notebook – to be turned in at your judging session
  • Control Award submission form (optional) – to be turned in at your judging session
  • Power strip to plug into outlet in your pit
  • Laptop computer with power cable, programming software, and programming cable (all labeled with your team number)
  • Simple hand tools for robot repair and modifications – review list from Robot Doctor!
  • Extra batteries for your robot (labeled with team #)
  • A backup of your programs on CD or memory stick
  • Extra TETRIXTM or MATRIXTM parts and expanded tool kit
  • Note paper and pencil/pen
  • Other recommended items
    • Things t promote FTC and your team
    • Recommended: Extra folding chairs/stool for your pit
    • Your plan to spread the owrd about FTC in your community
    • Camera to docuemtn your experience!
    • Trinkets to share with other teams (buttons, etc)
    • Pit decorations



Please note: FIRST is not responsible for lost or stolen items!

  • Routers or personal wifi, myfi, or internet hot spot equipment
  • Please don’t bring items of value (jewelry, video games, iPods, etc)




Check-in Times

  • 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM Thursday – open to all teams
  • 9:00 AM Friday – Teams in the morning scheduling block (see attached list)
  • 10:30 AM Friday – Teams in the afternoon scheduling block (see attached list)


What teams need to bring:

  • One coach from your team (please just send one person!)
  • Your complete team roster
    • Rosters can be printed from your firstinspires
    • If roster is blank or not fully correct, write in all coach/mentor and team member names
    • For any coach or mentor names added to printed roster, please bring signed FIRST Consent and Release Forms
    • For any team members added to the printer roster, please bring a filled out and signed Youth Team Member from:
    • You are welcome to strike through any names listed on your roster for anyone not attending the West Super-Regional


What teams will receive:

  • Program Book
  • Detailed schedule with judging/inspection/photo times
  • Drivers & Coach buttons (team specific – do not lose these!!)
    • We recommend you find a safe place to keep these in your pit. Do not bring them to your hotel at the end of the day!
    • Pins should be worn on the front of your shirt near the left shoulder so referees, judges, and queuers can see it. Only members with visible buttons will have access to the playing fields.



Pits Open @ 8:00 AM (we will not let you in early! Please have safety glasses on when entering the pits)

Judging (first session at 10 AM)

  • Structure: Teams will have 20-minute interviews with the Judges.
    • A formal prepared presentation is not required
    • Recommendation from our Judge Advisors: Team presentations should be 5-10 minutes (no more than 10 minutes)
  • Engineering notebooks and control award submissions should be handed in at your judging session.
  • Please wait at your pit for your judging session. Teams will be escorted to judging session by queuers from your pits. Please wait at your pit table for your judging session 15-minutes prior to your scheduled start. The queuer will be there 5-15 minutes before your session. If they are late, it means that judging is running late.


Team Photos

  • Thanks to Richard Hetzler for taking photos again and making them available to teams for free!
  • Team photo times are scheduled. Please show up at the photo booth at your scheduled time. We will have volunteers to keep a list of who is present and keep the line moving.



  • Teams should report directly to the inspection tables at your scheduled time.
  • Be sure to bring your pre-filled inspection sheet
  • Any team not passing inspection by 4:30 on Friday will not be included in match play.


Driver’s Meeting

  • Please wear your buttons.
  • Only one coach and two drivers per team can attend
  • If available, one match list per team will be handed out at this meeting (if match lists are not available by the driver’s meeting, they will be handed out at pit admin as soon as they are ready. A text will be sent regarding distribution.)



  • Allotted area for each pit is 10’x10’x10’. You will provided with work space and electrical access.
    • Pit decorations must fit within your allotted area and not spill into your neighbor’s pit space, or into the walkways
  • 2 chairs and 1 96”x30” table will be supplied and can be configured in any way your team desires
  • Teams should have a representative in their pit at all times (other than opening, closing, and alliance ceremonies)
  • Please do not pack up your pit area prior to 3:00 PM on Sunday
  • Do not hang anything on any wall.
  • No amplified music.
  • Aisles must be clear for robot movement, safety, and queueing reasons. We recommend that team members watch matches and cheer on teams instead of overflowing pit stations into the aisles.
  • No advance placement requests or pit locations switches will be considered.
  • PRACTICE FIELDS: We will have 3 practice fields set up in the pit. Please take turns responsibly and use your gracious professionalism when using the fields.
  • Lost & Found items should be turned into Pit Admin
  • Pit Schedule: Please be respectful of volunteers by observing the opening and closing time of the pits each day.
    • Thursday, 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM – Load-in and set up only. No robot work allowed at this time.
    • Friday, 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM
    • Saturday, 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM
    • Sunday, 7:30 AM – 6:30 PM (please do not clean up before 3:00 PM)



A FIRST core value is to remember to treat your fellow team members, competing teams, and tournament volunteers with respect and Gracious Professionalism (GP). Remember, GP doesn’t only involved behavior on the playing field or in the pit. It can (and should) happen anywhere!



  • USB cables are secure on your robot and driver station devices.
  • For ZTE speed phones: The FC Wi-FI Direct Channel Changing App is installed on the Robot Controller
  • Robot is not connected to any local networks
  • The Robot Controller is set to airplane mode, and Bluetooth is turned off
  • The FTC controller app is the default application, the application launches and no other messages pop up
  • Robot Controller Android device is named with the official Team number followed by –RC / Driver station android device named with official Team number followed by -DS



Everyone is expected to attend the opening, closing, and alliance selection ceremonies. No team members, mentors, or spectators will be allowed to remain in the pits during these times.



  • Party on Friday from 7:00 – 10:00 PM
    • @ LeMay Car Museum @$10/person buy tickets (vs $15/person at door)
  • Game Night on Saturday from 7:30 – 10:00 PM @ the Conference Center
    • Bring-Your-Own Game in Ballroom A
    • Nerf-Zone in Ballroom B (remember to bring your safety glasses)
  • Relax @ Team lounge in 3rd floor


Safe travels & we’ll see you in Tacoma!


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FIRST and Scholarship

FIRST is partnering with nearly 200 Colleges and Universities who are making available $30+ million in scholarship opportunities specifically for FIRST Alumni.  At the FTC West Super-Regional you will have an opportunity to check-out few of those fine institutes such as Harvey Mudd, Illinois Institute of Technology, and Yale.  Representatives from these institutes will be available to answer questions the students may have additionally they will be able to provide information about college admission process.

Scholarship Row @ FTCWest Super-Regional

Saturday, March 11th from 10:00 AM through 4:00 PM at the Exhibit Hall

FIRST Scholarship Program

It is a partnership between FIRST and Colleges/Universities or other entities (Scholarship Providers) who make available exclusive scholarships to the FIRST Community.  The Scholarship Providers make available post-secondary scholarships specifically for youth participants or alumni on high school FIRST teams (FIRST Tech Challenge & FIRST Robotics Competition).  Please note that the Scholarship Providers set their own Scholarship Opportunities and application criteria/deadlines.  For list of available scholarship opportunities check out here.

Fun Facts  

FIRST alumni’s make up:

  • ~ 10% of the 2016 incoming Freshman class at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • 10% of the 2016 incoming Freshman class at Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE)
  • 14% of the 2016 incoming Freshman class at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)
  • 36% of the 2016 incoming Freshman class at Olin College of Engineering
  • 21% of the 2015 incoming Freshman class at Kettering University
  • 30% of the 2015 incoming Freshman class at Capitol Technology Institute

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Volunteer Assignment Status Update

We have 73 teams registered from 13 western states and they are all very excited to attend the event. We have had a surge of volunteer registrations in the past few days as the final teams have qualified for the big event.

We will be working on finalizing assignments in the next few days.  Some of the roles remaining to be staffed are for the team events after the field and pits have closed for the day (6:30-10 pm).  We are unable to see from your general availability if volunteers are available in the evenings to help with team events.  If you are available Friday night to participate in the LeMay Museum team social or the Saturday Night Team Social at the Convention center, please drop us an email at so that we can place you in these custom roles that are not listed in VIMS.

For volunteers who are only available on Sunday, we may not have an assignment for you at this event.  The first preference for assignments will be the volunteers who are available for multiple days.  If you are available for multiple days at the event, please update your VIMS application so that it reflects which days you are available to volunteer –

Thank you for your volunteer support to make the FTC West Super-Regional event a great experience for teams, their coaches and families.  We very much appreciate each of you who has offered your time and talents to make this event successful.  We will notify all volunteers who have applied by early next week regarding your volunteer role assignment or status.

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Team Briefing

Thank you for joining the Webinar.  Looking forward to seeing all of you at the FTCWest Super-Regional.  Go FIRST!

Team Briefing Materials

Here is the link to the PowerPoint and the Video recording.  We are compiling responses to all the questions we had and it is available here.

Question & Answers from the Team Briefing

  1. Powerpoint available later?

Yes. It can be accessed here.

  1. Any code for the hotels that we need at registration

Call GetSports at 888-877-4445 option 3 and mention that it is for FTC West Super-Regional

  1. For these award it says “before” March 3 – does that mean it’s due March 2? Thursday?

Submit them by March 3rd 5:00 PM pacific time.

  1. What email should a brochure entry be sent to?

You will be submitting them online.

  1. What is the deadline for the team ad?

Friday March 3rd 3:00 PM

  1. Can we add the team info later pay first/register and then add team info before Friday?


  1. Can we bring our own food and snacks?

Yes, but the conference center is requesting that you consume them outside the facility

  1. What about students with sever food allergies can they bring in their lunch and snack?

The Concession Stand available throughout the day does have food options that caters to those with food allergies.

  1. Could you please repeat the rule about music?

No amplified music.

  1. Is there wi-fi at the convention center. There is data from ftcroot that we may need to access?

Yes, there will be

  1. Are there places to eat?

Yes, there is a concession stand inside the convention center as well as few places to eat in walking distance.,-122.4411758,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m8!2m7!3m6!1sRestaurants!2sGreater+Tacoma+Convention+%26+Trade+Center,+1500+Broadway,+Tacoma,+WA+98402!3s0x549055744d668161:0xe464395e6d5c8dd5!4m2!1d-122.4389871!2d47.248525

  1. Can we bring water into venue?

Personal water bottle are allowed.

  1. Can we use cell phone data? LTE? And how is coverage?


  1. How long is the judging period?

Teams will be interviewed by the judges for 10 min.  For details refer to Game Manual 1.

  1. Can you come and go with the $12 parking?

No.  the fee is for one time use.

  1. On Thursday will the practice field also be open?

No.  The practice fields are available on Friday/Saturday/Sunday only.

  1. How many judging sessions will each team go through?


  1. Is transportation provided to the evening social?

There is a free Link Rail option.  Please note that the last run of the complementary Link rail for the day is 10PM

  1. What is the schedule for the practice files – do we only get an hour on Friday?

The practice fields will not be open on Thursday but will be open all day Friday.  The competition fields will be open for 1 hr on Friday.

  1. Can we bring other tables for the pits?

Yes as long as the table stays within your 10ft x 10ft pit area.

  1. Are there chairs?


  1. Are we allowed to have a pVC frame like an ez up, but without the canopy?

Yes, as long as it confines to the 10’ height restriction and doesn’t pose any hazard or violate safety

  1. Will we be give the judging schedule for Friday ahead of check in?


  1. Will the photographer be there all 3 days so teams can continue to take photos?

You will be assigned a specific time slot for taking the picture.

  1. Are awards separated by division?


  1. Will the pits be secured in the evening? Can we leave our robot overnight?


  1. Rained out requires a private group keyword – what is it?

There is no private group – you don’t require one to sign-up

  1. What volunteer help is still needed?

None at this moment, check the volunteer assignment status update blog in

  1. Is there a location for a school bus?

They will be able to drop-off and park at paid surface lot.

  1. Will there be online, live results?

There will not be any game by game live results.

  1. Can we bring a full size tool chest i.e. 5’ wide x 3’ tall?


  1. Any preferred airport shuttle service you recommend?

We don’t have one.

  1. Do you have a website to show the game scores, statistics etc.?

FTCWest.Org will be our primary website for any communication.

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Excited about Super-Regional?

Congratulations! Your team made it to the FIRST ® Tech Challenge (FTC) West Super-Regional Championship!

You must be wondering what next, extend the team meetings through March, squeeze in those perfections to the robot, keep up the engineering notebook, raise funds for the trip, register for the event, book the hotels, inform the parents, schools and local media.

Relax! Take the moment to savor the win!  Yes, there are few things the team needs to do between now and the FTC West Super-Regional but let the students celebrate their success and reflect on what made them come this far.

You (the Coach) will be getting an official invitation letter from the organizers inviting you to register for the team.  There is time for you to coordinate all the activities.  We will keep you informed on making your trip to Super-Regional a fun and fulfilling trip.  In the mean time, do book mark and join the Facebook group  If you got any pressing questions you can always reach us at

Checkout the travel options that are available to the teams and don’t forget to checkout Visiting Seattle.