The 18th Annual San Diego FIRST Robotics Competition presented by Qualcomm from March 21-24, 2024 once again proved to be a show stopper! This year’s competition welcomed 51 teams and over 1,500 students from high schools in San Diego, other California cities, Hawaii and Azerbaijan.

We were particularly fortunate to have FIRST CEO, Chris Moore, attend our event, offering an extraordinary chance for students, mentors, and alumni to engage directly with a pivotal leader in STEM education. 

Opening ceremonies on Saturday were highlighted by words from Qualcomm’s SVP & CIO, Cisco Sanchez who unveiled the $10,000 Qualcomm Innovation Grant, which was ultimately awarded to Rookie Team 9452, LHS Steel Stingers.

We also had the honor of presenting four distinguished proclamations, marking March 23, 2024, as a day of celebration across both the state and county for STEAM and STEM achievements. These proclamations recognized California STEAM Robotics Day, California Women in STEM Day, County of San Diego STEAM Robotics Day, and County of San Diego Women in STEM Day, highlighting the collective dedication to advancing STEM education and acknowledging the hard work of students and professionals in these fields. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to California Assemblymembers Brian Maienschein and Akilah Weber, San Diego County Supervisor Joel Anderson, and the SASA of California for their help in securing these honors.

In addition to the excitement of the competition, we also hosted additional engagement events:

  • Mentor Breakfast – mentor networking and a meet and greet with FIRST CEO, Chris Moore.
  • Women in STEM “Table Talks” – networking opportunities with STEM professionals from organizations like Qualcomm, General Atomics, Becton Dickinson, NIWC-Pacific, TYLin and the Society of Women Engineers. 
  • Alumni Event – alumni and FIRST seniors had a chance to network with and hear from Chris Moore, a Talent Representative from Qualcomm and NIWC-Pacific employee and FIRST Alumni.
  • Elementary School Field Trips – on Friday, in coordination with Team Nomad, 135 elementary school students took a field trip to the Regional to watch matches and go on a scavenger hunt through the pits.

New this year, we also honored our FIRST For All fellowship graduates and our Very Involved Person nominees.

We extend our heartfelt congratulations to all competing teams for their relentless effort and commendable achievements throughout the event. We are immensely proud of you.

Our deepest gratitude goes to the volunteers, mentors, and sponsors whose contributions were pivotal to the competition’s success. Your ongoing support and commitment are deeply valued. 


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.

    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 2485, W.A.R Lords from San Diego, CA

      Regional Winners

      • Team 359, Hawaiian Kids from Waialua, HI (Championship Qualifying Award)
      • Team 3647, Millennium Falcons from San Diego, CA (Championship Qualifying Award)
      • Team 8891, Wild Raccoons from Oceanside, CA (Championship Qualifying Award – wildcard)

      Dean’s List Finalists

      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.


      • Noah S – Team 3749, Team Optix
      • Julia S – Team 3341, 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 who 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.


        •  David Okana – Team 2543, TitanBot


          Rookie All-Star Award

          The Rookie All-Star Award celebrates the rookie team exemplifying a young but strong partnership effort, as well as implementing the mission of FIRST to inspire students to learn more about science and technology.

          • Team 9452, LHS Steel Stingers from San Diego, CA (Championship Qualifying Award – wildcard)


          Volunteer of the Year

          The Rookie All-Star Award celebrates the rookie team exemplifying a young but strong partnership effort, as well as implementing the mission of FIRST to inspire students to learn more about science and technology.

          • Chris Low

          Additional Awards

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