The East Bay FIRST Robotics Competition unfolded as the season’s largest Regiional in California, drawing an impressive roster of 60 teams from California and corners of the globe including Australia, India, Turkey, and the United States. 

Hosted by Berkeley High School, the event debuted in a new venue that earned high praise for its hospitality. Adding a unique twist to the competition, armchair analysis provided by local alumni including Aiden Ferrer, Andrew Lawrence, and Ed Jordan, offered insightful breakdowns of previous matches, interviews with teams, and match previews – all a bit hit with the audience!

The event was packed with chances to learn and make connections, shown by how many people showed up for the mentor lunch. Led by Lonny Weissman, our FIRST Senior Mentor, the session fostered meaningful discussions and question exchanges among mentors, enhancing the community’s knowledge and cohesiveness. 

Among the event’s other standout moments was the Women in STEM gathering, which captivated over 150 attendees with an inspiring talk from Rachel Lim, a distinguished alum of Team 649.

Innovative technology and philanthropy intersected at the event, with Johnson & Johnson showcasing their cutting-edge Monarch Surgical robotics system through hands-on demonstrations. The presence of UCSF Organ Donation and Vitalant underscored the competition’s commitment to our community, with initiatives like a virtual blood drive memorializing lost FIRST members. 

Additionally, PG&E’s involvement highlighted the bridge between education and career opportunities, offering swag and discussions on future paths for FIRST students. The East Bay FIRST Robotics Competition not only celebrated the spirit of innovation and teamwork but also fostered a deep sense of community and purpose.

We’d like to extend an immense THANK YOU to all the sponsors, mentors and volunteers who contributed to this very successful Regional.

We hope you too had a memorable experience! 


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.

  • Team 2637, Phantom Catz from Rolling Hills Estates, CA

This team is on a quest to defeat STEAM barriers for all. Starting in their home town, they quickly leveled up to champion diversity and inclusion in STEAM at every school within their district. Setting their sights on the next level, they partnered with other underserved communities outside of their home state. They donated FIRST Lego League kits and followed up with many remote mentoring sessions. They raised the funds necessary for those teams to travel to meet with their mentors in person and to compete, some even winning awards! Keeping the FIRST energy going year round, they’ve started and co-hosted a new off-season FRC event for their region. Not letting a lack of FIRST in other countries get in their way, they’ve used FLL as a platform to make STEAM not just accessible, but a universal language for all. You can’t stop these phantomz from leveling up the world!

      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.

      • Team 5985, Project Bucephalus from Wollongong, Australia

      This team left the judges speechless. The scope and scale of their inspiration is unstoppable. They have started hundreds of teams, taught STEM classes to thousands of students, and reached tens of thousands of people. Galloping through barriers, this team is inspiring everyone regardless of who you are or where you are from.

      Regional Winners

      • Team 254, The Cheesy Poofs from San Jose, CA (Championship Qualifying Award)
      • Team 1678, Citrus Circuits from Davis, CA (Championship Qualifying Award)
      • Team 1160, Titanium Robotics from San Marino, CA (Championship Qualifying Award – wildcard)

      Regional Finalists

      • Team 5940, BREAD
      • Team 581, Blazing Bulldogs
      • Team 1458, Red Tie Robotics  (Championship Qualifying Award – wildcard)

      Rookie All-Star

      • Team 9545, Caracal Robotics from Istanbul, Turkiye (Championship Qualifying Award – wildcard)

      This team has proven their reach is far, spanning hundreds of miles. They support economically struggling communities in their country. These cats are not rare or endangered!

      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.

      • Caroline S – Team 5419, Berkelium
      • Goksu K – Team 8159, Golden Horn

      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.

      • Joseph Alvarico – Team 7137, Project 212

      Additional Awards

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