All In for the 2021 FRC Season

These California FIRST Robotics Competition teams have come together to share their commitment, passion and support for FIRST and to let YOU know that they are ALL IN for the 2021 FRC Season!

Now is the time when the rubber meets the road (or carpet ) and we get to see first-hand what Dean has been saying all along.

FIRST is SO MUCH MORE than robots!

We know how passionate, brilliant, resilient and creative our FIRST California family is. Over the past 6 months, we’ve seen you rise to the challenge and come together in these times of adversity – helping each other and your community.  Doing the hard work.

We are now excited to see the growth, innovation and solutions that lie ahead for all of us in the 2021 season – and beyond.

This season will look different – there’s no doubt. And we are excited to see the role you will play in shaping the future of the 2021 FRC Season!


FIRST California 2020-2021 Season Update

FIRST California 2020-2021 Season Update

So that every student participant receives a valuable, enjoyable experience (regardless of learning environment this season) FIRST is extending the 2020-2021 event season for all programs through the end of June 2021 and moving the 2021 FIRST Championship from April 2021 to later in the year. 

What does this mean for your program in your city? See below for information and timelines in your region.

FIRST LEGO League Challenge

For some regions that continue to be disrupted by COVID-19 and require social distancing, we are offering remote event options supported by the FIRST Remote Event Hub to provide a comprehensive remote experience for teams and volunteers.


  • Qualifier Tournaments (remote): February 6, 7, 13 (proposed dates)
  • Championship Tournament (remote or possibly in-person): March 13th (proposed date)
  • Spring Season Event (official or unofficial): April – May

Program Registration: Open

Event Registration: Opens October 22, 2020




  • Practice Tournament (remote): Nov 7
  • Qualifier Tournament (remote): Nov 21 and 22
  • Championship Tournament (remote): Dec 12

Event Registration: Closed




  • Qualifier Tournament – info coming soon
  • Championship Tournament – info coming soon

Program Registration: Open

Event Registration: Open




As mentioned in the RePLAY Challenge Kick-off our events will be held remotely (all online) using virtual platforms.

  • Practice Tournaments (training and practice with online event environment): November 
  • Qualifier Tournaments (remote): December 5, 6, 12, 13 & January 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24 (proposed dates)
  • Championship Tournament(s) (remote) – February
  • Spring Season (unofficial or possible official): March- June

Program Registration: Open

Event Registration: Open –


FIRST Tech Challenge

For regions that continue to be disrupted by COVID-19 and require social distancing, we are offering remote event options supported by the FIRST Remote Event Hub to provide a comprehensive remote experience for teams and volunteers.



At this point the region is planning on holding the League Meets as remote events, with some additional region constructs.

  • Remote League Meet Week #1 – February 6-7, 2021
  • Remote League Meet Week #2 – February 20-21, 2021
  • Remote League Meet Week #3 – March 6-7, 2021
  • League Championship – March 27-28th or April 3-4, 2021
  • San Diego Regional Championship – April 24-25th, 2021

Program Registration: Open

Event Registration: Open

More Details:


The format this year will be remote Scrimmages and Qualifier Tournaments (instead of Leagues and ILTs) to buy as much time as possible before competitive play so teams who cannot meet until the second semester have time to build.

  • Remote Scrimmage #1 & #2 – November/ Dec TBD
  • Remote Scrimmage #3 & #4 – January/ Feb TBD
  • Qualifying Tournaments (planning for remote events) – March 6, 14, 21, 27
  • Championship Event (planning for a remote event) – April 17

Program Registration: Open

Event Registration: Open

To participate in the 2020-21 Scrimmages and Qualifier Tournament, each team must register with LAFTC and pay the $50 registration fee in order to play. (Fees have been reduced from $300 due to COVID and remote play). Mentors from returning teams receive an email inviting them to register. New teams should reach out to for those details.


Check the website under ‘new team info’ or ‘How to register’ for more information. Also sign up for LAFTC Robot News on the lower right of the home page.


Info coming soon!


FIRST Robotics Competition


FIRST has added 3 exciting new remote engagement opportunities, for the 2021 FRC season, to ensure everyone has a chance to participate and to keep the momentum of the FIRST experience going through continued innovation, teamwork, skills building and FUN!

To address the uncertainties and range of restrictions brought on by COVID-19, FIRST has made the tough decision to open the FIRST Robotics Competition registration, the week of October 5th, built around a season experience that does not include in-person competitions.  

In January, FIRST will re-evaluate if in-person competitions can take place later in the Spring.

  • FRC Remote Kick Off – January 9th, 2021
  • Remote Challenges – January-June
    • Game Design Challenge
    • Innovation Challenge presented by Qualcomm
  • FIRST Championship – Late July

Registration: Open

Contact your Regional Director if you run into any obstacles or barriers to participating this season.

Details: FRC 2021 Season Details



Sponsor Spotlight: Haas Automation

Sponsor Spotlight: Haas Automation

The Gene Haas Foundation and Haas Automation proudly support FIRST Robotics. For the past 7 years they have supported robotics teams from FIRST LEGO League to FIRST Robotics Competition, as well as sponsoring the Ventura Regional for the past six years.  In addition, they began sponsoring the Las Vegas Regional starting in 2020 and have plans to continue as Haas is building a second US factory in Nevada.

After witnessing the amazing success of and benefit to FIRST students for a number of years, the Gene Haas Foundation increased their support and became a FIRST corporate sponsor for the Championships in Houston and Detroit in 2019. Additionally, millions of dollars of Gene Haas’ personal foundation funds have been donated directly to FIRST teams and FIRST schools with CNC programs for support and scholarships.


The mission of Gene Haas Foundation’s work with schools is to strengthen our country’s manufacturing economy by assisting schools and student organizations in training students for dynamic careers in the manufacturing industry by providing scholarships, teacher training and supporting dynamic organizations such as FIRST. Over 70 million dollars in grants to manufacturing related technologies education has been funded in the last 10 years.

In addition to the work of the foundation, Haas Automation created and fully funds HTEC (Haas Technical Education Centers) more aptly Community where educators can meet in person and digitally for training, networking, collaboration, sharing best practices and developing mentorship for new programs. HTEC conferences are held throughout North America at local schools. HTEC also has industry partnerships with related technology suppliers to assist educators with what they need to run their programs who also participate in conferences and provide resources.

Gene Haas is also known for his love of automobile racing. He owns NASCAR and F1 race teams, as well as a full-size rolling road wind tunnel in North Carolina, WINDSHEAR.


Join Jeremy Bout on a tour of Haas Automation where he talks about some of the many careers found at a manufacturing company.


Haas is also offering online training on how to operate a CNC mill and in the next couple weeks the lathe training will be released as well. For all of you looking for things to learn during these “stuck at home times” check out .

The training is FREE.  If you choose to acquire the certification, there is a charge for the test.

Sponsor Spotlight: KLA

Sponsor Spotlight: KLA

FIRST California would like to thank KLA for their impact on our robotics community through their generosity of time, donation, and endless passion. From raw wafers to next-generation microchips to world-altering technologies, KLA enables what’s next, including enabling tomorrow’s workforce through FIRST.  KLA is a generous sponsor of FIRST events and teams mentored by KLA employees at their offices in California, Michigan and New York.

FIRST Alumni reflect on their FIRST experience and careers at KLA.


 “FIRST introduced me to the engineering design process, good engineering principles, and working in multidisciplinary teams. Those experiences and interpersonal skills translate directly into my day-to-day work. As an alumni mentor, I strive to prepare today’s students much as I was mentored, by inspiring and enabling learning and curiosity. Also, I try to bring real-world best practices and experiences into the classroom so that the students can see how their work relates to industry.”

Christopher Loos
FIRST alumnus and Mechanical Design Engineer at KLA


 “I felt like a welcomed team member (regardless of my skillset) and realized that the FIRST community really emphasized the value of inclusivity—and lived up to it. I love that there are so many opportunities available to someone who joins a Robotics Club – marketing, art, communications, engineering, etc. Just because someone isn’t interested in engineering doesn’t mean that robotics isn’t for them!  A FIRST robotics team really is a microcosm of the high-tech workforce.” 

Nicole Speciale
FIRST alumna and Communications Specialist at KLA

Check out the video below that Nicole created for KLA to celebrate FIRST Robotics Competition team accomplishments during this challenging year.


We keep looking ahead with KLA and are thankful for their support in inspiring a new generation of technology innovators and leaders!  

Regional Chairman’s Award Winners in California

Regional Chairman’s Award Winners in California

2020 Regional Chairman’s Award Winners in California.

The Chairman’s Award is the most prestigious award at FIRST and it honors the team that best represents a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the mission of FIRST. It was created to keep the central focus of FIRST Robotics Competition on the ultimate goal of transforming the culture in ways that will inspire greater levels of respect and honor for science and technology, as well as encouraging more of today’s youth to become science and technology leaders.

We are proud to recognize the following 14 teams who earned the Regional Chairman’s Award in and from California. 


Team 3925
Ventura, CA


Team 254
San Jose, CA


Team 1622
Poway, CA


Team 4400
Torreon, Mexico


Team 2429
La Canada, CA


Team 1671
Clovis, CA


Team 5810
Santa Fe Springs, CA


Team 1197
Torrance, CA


Team 498
Glendale, AZ


Team 4904
San Mateo, CA


Team 604
San Jose, CA


Team 2584
Calabasas, CA


Team 3309
Anaheim, CA


Team 1678
Davis, CA

Woodie Flowers Finalist Award Winners from California

Woodie Flowers Finalist Award Winners from California

2020 Woodie Flowers Finalist Awards Winners from California

The Woodie Flowers Award is special for the mentors, because it is the students’ choice.

This award celebrates outstanding communication in the art and science of engineering and design. It was created honor of the late Dr. Woodie Flowers and celebrates a mentor who, in the concisely communicated written words of students, demonstrates the leadership, ethical behavior, and communication skills exemplified by Woodie.

For each Regional event, one mentor was selected to receive the Woodie Flowers Finalist Award. Please join us in celebrating the 2020 Woodie Flowers Finalist award recipients, all from California!


This mentor has, in the words of the students, applied constant dedication and passion for STEM over the years. The result has been students whose knowledge and enthusiasm for robotics and engineering have grown in both depth and breadth. With this mentor’s guidance, students have gained more than skills and techniques – they have gained a thorough understanding of their larger role in the team and beyond.

Goodman "Dennis" Barnes

Aerospace Valley Regional, Team 2429

This mentor has been a steady source of expertise and stability for their team. Adding his experience allows students to understand mechanical solutions as well as explore options not yet thought of. Whether it is teaching a student the proper technique to weld or working to increase the size of the membership, his apparently tireless efforts are felt by all of the students.

Rory Buchenroth

Central Valley Regional, Team 2035

This individual has been an active part of FIRST in both the FLL and FRC programs throughout the past 12 years. This person’s journey consists of mentorship, volunteering at events, and most importantly inspiring students and creating an inclusive culture in the team’s program. The ability of this individual to promote the culture of FIRST as a service-oriented, diverse, and spirited program deserves great recognition. Instilling in students, the desire to celebrate team successes as the sum of each and every individual’s contributions is this person’s mantra.

Richard Sisk

Del Mar Regional, Team 6960

This mentor is focused on student engagement, student knowledge and student development using precise communication skills. One student stated “…he encouraged us to improve our communications as well. Whether that be by capturing more in presentations and documentation or enhancing technical communications by helping improve the design-build-programming cycle…”.

Additionally, another student believe’s he is “crucial in helping students gain a deeper understanding of engineering concepts. For instance, to help refine our knowledge of gear ratios, he developed his own modified version of JVN’s Gearbox Calculator. His precise, research-and-data-driven approach to finding solutions has drastically changed how designs, mechanical, electrical, and software, are developed.”

Mike Hashiro

Los Angeles Regional, Team 2637

This mentor has been motivating and encouraging students to be better on a daily basis for thirteen years. He enforces the team’s engineering method, “Think, Design, Build.”

But above all else, when the going gets tough and stressful, he offers the simplest and perhaps best advice of all, “just breathe”.

Jason Takamoto

Los Angeles North Regional, Team 207

This mentor not only manages his teams organization, he also creates seminars and learning sessions to enable new students to become versed in the skills needed to design and build robots. He encourages the members to collect data, document actions, maintain engineering notes, and be able to present the results competently. His passion for robotics goes beyond the team as he is involved in expanding FIRST teams and events around the area.

Robert Hyde

Monterey Bay Regional, Team 5104

The students on this team note that this mentor sees potential in all our team members even when they can’t. This mentor has created a team of leaders with values that team members retain after they move out into their careers. Through this mentor’s efforts, his students have learned how to problem-solve, and not just in Engineering.

Daniel Guerrero

Orange County Regional, Team 5810

This mentor’s insistence on students learning from hands-on trial and error has transformed this team into one which has provided generations of kids meaningful engineering experiences. It is the lessons we learn through failure and success that this mentor is clearly passionate about. It is the approach to communicating to students that has clearly worked for this team over the past 14 years and they are much better prepared for the future.

Gary Gin

Sacramento Regional, Team 2204

As the students wrote, “This mentor’s natural openness and enthusiasm is infectious, earning respect and trust from all team members. His bubbly and approachable personality is why students are comfortable coming to him with all their questions, knowing he will go above and beyond to explore new ideas and encourage out of the box thinking. He pushes us to arrive at solutions ourselves with thought-provoking questions, while making sure our ideas are valued. He puts his whole heart into involving everyone, creating a team culture based on improvement and excellence.”

This mentor, “hosts events, workshops, competitions and outreach events. He is the liaison between neighboring teams sharing resources with 20 other FRC teams. He is the unwavering champion of our team, and the representative of everything we stand for.”

Saikiran Ramanan

San Diego Regional, Team 3476

This mentor strives to provide everyone on this team with individual guidance and attention, a tough task for a team of over 100 students! With tough love, this mentor precisely calculates his expectations to push the team beyond their perceived personal limits. Becoming a math teacher after retirement from being an electrical engineer, he began his real “new career” mentoring this robotics team. Coining the team mantra “Building People, Building Robots” this mentor has the energy to move mountains, but he could probably convince the mountains to move themselves!

Charles Williams

San Francisco Regional, Team 2473

This mentor knows that it is important to prioritize health above all, take breaks, laugh, and love often. Throughout her life, she has modeled the virtues that Woodie Flowers strived to reward while she continues to strive for humanity, facing unparalleled challenges in a field that has traditionally been unfriendly to women.

Pauline Breeden

Arizona North Regional, Team 1138

This mentor has been instrumental in transitioning the team from a club to a class. By working with district and student representatives, he has made FIRST available to over 20,000 students spanning across two districts. As head robotics coordinator for the district, he oversaw the design and creation of a new robotics curriculum. Through teacher and student-led plans, the unique curriculum focuses on building the student’s curiosity and spurring a passion in engineering.

His curiosity pervades into the minds of his students, encouraging students to explore a new concept or to design and iterate to ensure their curiosity is met.

Rick Jung

Ventura Regional, Team 5199