The 17th Annual San Diego FIRST Robotics Competition presented by Qualcomm, held March 23-26, 2023, was another great success!  The event featured 50 teams and 1,500+ students from local San Diego high schools plus through other California cities, Switzerland, Turkey and Chinese Taipei. Participants and spectators loved our new venue, the UCSD LionTree Arena!

We began practice day with a Mentor Breakfast to fuel our wonderful mentors with coffee and donuts, introduce them to our local San Diego Mentor Network on Slack and to give them a chance to connect with each other in person.

During opening ceremonies Qualcomm’s SVP & CIO, Cisco Sanchez, announced the $10,000 Qualcomm Innovation Grant which was later to be won by Team 4738, Patriobots, from Patrick Henry High. Lieutenant Colonel Adrian A. Zinnerman, from the Air Force, also shared passionate words about his experience and encouraged the participants to continue to pursue their passion for STEM. 

At the competition, three STEM proclamations were presented from the County of San Diego and the State of California –  STEAM California Statewide Observance Day, Commending STEAM Robotics Observance and Honoring Women in STEAM in San Diego County. A big thank you to California Assemblymember Brian Maienschein, San Diego County Supervisor Joel Anderson and Team Spyder for these important recognitions.

It was a full house at the Women in STEM event, with great connections made with STEM professionals from Viasat, Qualcomm, UCSD, The Air Force, General Atomics, Sinopia Bio, Becton Dickinson and Society of Women Engineers. This was an amazing opportunity for women in the field to come together and network with each other. LinkedIn profiles for the STEM professionals can be found here.

The Alumni Event also had a great turnout with alumni and soon-to-be alumni mixing and mingling then gathering for a fun group photo.

New this year, FIRST California Gracious Professional pins were awarded to participants, volunteers and mentors who were “caught in the act” of being a gracious professional. And speaking of gracious professionals, we were also honored to have a visit from UCSD Chancellor Khosla and Dr. Paul E. Jacobs (FIRST Board of Directors)!

Finally, a huge congratulations to all the teams who worked tirelessly throughout the competition. Your hard work and dedication paid off, and we are proud of your achievements.

We would like to thank the volunteers, mentors, and sponsors who made the event possible. Your support and dedication are truly appreciated and invaluable to the success of the competition. We look forward to another successful event next year.

Big thanks to Tom LaFleur for capturing these amazing San Diego Regional memories!

Feel free to download and share any of these photos.  You can tag FIRST San Diego at @sdfirstrobotics and FIRST California at @firstroboticscalifornia on Instagram  and use hashtags #FIRSTinCA, #FIRSTSD #firstininspires, #CHARGEDUP and #omgrobots.


The following teams and individuals earned top honors at the San Diego Regional and earned their way to compete at the FIRST Championships in Houston, April 19-22, 2023

FIRST Impact Award

The FIRST Impact Award is the most prestigious award at FIRST, it honors the team that best represents a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the purpose and goals of FIRST.   

The FIRST Impact Award is presented to the team judged to have the most significant measurable impact of its partnerships among its participants and community over a sustained period, not just a single build season. The winner is able to demonstrate progress towards FIRST’s mission of transforming our culture.  The recipient team will be invited to a FIRST Championship where it will compete for the FIRST Impact Award against winners from other qualifying events.

From little ones to seniors, this team embodies all of FIRST’s goals and objectives under their expansive wingspan. Giving their blood, sweat and tears for their country, while innovating to save the environment worldwide. This team rises from the ashes once again to display its aura.

  • Team 5993, Istech Robotics Society, from Istanbul, Turkey

    Engineering Inspiration

    The Engineering Inspiration Award celebrates outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering within a team’s school and community.  This team will advance to the Championships and receive a $5000 NASA grant toward registration.

    From the moment you meet any of this team’s members you get inspired by their FRC program depth. Spending nearly 4000 hours volunteering this year, all of their team members have mentored inside and outside their community and fueling 7 FLL teams into existence. Whether you look east or have a WESTVIEW you will find more than a dozen options on how this team has been inspiring others.

    Regional Winners

    • Team 973, Greybots, from Atascadero, CA
    • Team 1538, The Holy Cows, from San Diego, CA
    • Team 4419, Team Rewind, from San Marcos, CA

    Finalists (wildcards)

    • Team 599, The Robodox, from Granada Hills, CA
    • Team 4738, Patribots, from San Diego, CA

    Dean’s List Finalist

    In an effort to recognize the leadership and dedication of FIRST’s most outstanding FRC students, the Kamen family sponsors an award for selected top students known as the FIRST Dean’s List. This award celebrates a student’s outstanding leadership and effectiveness in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering and engineers, both within their school, as well as their community. FIRST Dean’s List Finalists will compete at the championship for the FIRST Dean’s List.

    • Kavish Kondap, from Team 2485, W.A.R Lords
    • Xochitl Martinez, from Team 3342, Option 16

    Woodie Flowers Finalist Award

    FIRST stands apart from other competitions in STEM and sports due to the FIRST Ethos of Gracious Professionalism, the concept of Coopertition, and the commitment to the FIRST Core Values. The guiding force behind these principles was Dr. Woodie Flowers. Dr. William Murphy, Jr., who was instrumental in creating the concept of FIRST with Dean Kamen, recognized the unique perspective, wisdom, and communication style that Woodie brought to the FIRST Robotics Competition.

    In honor of Woodie, Dr. Murphy founded the Woodie Flowers Award in 1996. He recognized that the FIRST ethos would be carried forward by our FIRST mentors and sought to celebrate those mentors who demonstrate the leadership, ethical behavior, and communication skills exemplified by Woodie. Woodie believed “societies get the best of what they celebrate”.

    Being recognized by students, through nomination essays, makes this honor very meaningful to mentors. It is truly an honor for a mentor to be nominated for this award.

    • Barış Çetin, from Team 5993, Istech Robotics Society

    Additional Awards

    Congratulations to the Teams and individuals that earned the remaining awards at the San Diego Regional! See the list here.

    Instagram Highlights

    Don’t Miss Out on the Best Moments of San Diego. Watch @sdfirstrobotics Instagram Highlight Tab!