San Diego FTC – Workshop

San Diego FTC – Workshop

Why is Math always sad? Because it’s got nothing but problems.

This and many other bad jokes kept the audience of students, mentors, and coaches for San Diego FTC amused in between technical and information sessions at a regional FTC workshop held virtually on 12/19/20.

FTC Regional Program Partner Matt Nilsen shared that the region will assign teams to their league in January and that teams will get to test out the virtual systems in mid-January league meets.

Over eighty attendees logged in to learn what to include in their Robot Inspection videos, how the Remote Hub works, details and deadlines for Dean’s List applicants, and technical breakout sessions hosted by local teams. Throughout the call attendees designed a region-wide fun challenge at the end of the call to wrap up the session with a hands-on, virtual competition using game elements from this season’s challenge.

Devin Briese provided an overview of what teams need to include on their Hardware Inspection videos and shared where teams can get more information.

Julie Bonnardel reviewed the process for students to apply for Dean’s List followed by Victor Cicarrelli providing the region their first overview of the remote hub. Cicarrelli will host subsequent training classes for teams to get more experience with the virtual hub before regional league play begins.

Three teams, Roboctopi, Crash Test, and Mechanical Advantage then led breakout sessions to help other teams with their industrial designs for this season’s robots.

Students and coaches got into the fun sharing seasonal and other bad jokes like these: Who is the fattest knight at the round table? SirCumfrence. He got that way from eating too much pi.

Follow more fun from San Diego FTC at!

Los Angeles FLL – Event Results

Los Angeles FLL – Event Results

Though the events may be virual this year, the excitement is 100% real!

The below video captures the surprise and joy from team Athena when they learn they are Champions of the Los Angeles FIRST LEGO League Challenge Championship event.

Championship Event – December 12th

Following the Qualifying Tournaments, Los Angeles FLL held their Championship on Saturday, December 12. The awards ceremony was held live on LAFLL YouTube.



Robot Performance

SF Hackers – 515
RoboWizards – 470
Production Quality
Rusty Sailors

Robot Design

UFO (Ultra Fit Ostrich)
SF HAckers
Innovative Project
MR Squared

Judges Award

Lightning Bots
Those Guys
Global Innovation Nominee

Core Values

Rusty Sailors
Three Musketeers

Qualifying Tournaments – Nov 21st & 22nd

59 teams competed in Los Angeles FLL Qualifying Tournaments November 21st and 22nd.

Teams submitted and were judged on their videos of their Robot Performance as well as  a 15 minute video of the Innovative Project, Robot Design and their Core Values.

The awards were held live on YouTube with the following teams awarded trophies and 25 teams advanced to the Championships.  


Robo Wizards Club
UFO (Ultra Fit Ostrich)

Innovative Project

Triangle Triad
Mission Mavericks

Robot Design


Judges Award

The Nuggets
The Coders of the Round Table
Galactic Circuits

Core Values

SCDC ROBO Warriors
Brick Bots
SF Hackers
Robot Performance
SF Hackers – 495
Robo Wizards Club – 445
Robo Tech Heroes – 440
Lightning Bots – 375
Production Quality
Robo Tech Heroes

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.


  • Remote Qualifying Tournament, Google HQ, Sunnyvale – 11/29
  • Remote Qualifying Tournament, Sacramento – 12/06
  • Remote Qualifying Tournament, Piedmont – 12/07
  • Remote Qualifying Tournament, Santa Clara – 1/10
  • Remote Qualifying Tournament, San Mateo – 1/17
  • Remote Qualifying Tournament, San Jose #1 – 1/18
  • Remote Qualifying Tournament, Daly City – 2/14
  • Remote Qualifying Tournament, Fremont #1 – 2/21
  • Remote Qualifying Tournament, San Jose #2 – 3/7
  • Remote Qualifying Tournament, Fremont #2 – 3/14
  • Remote Qualifying Tournament, Granite Bay – 3/15
  • NorCal FTC Regional Championship (tentative) – 4/17-18  


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
  • 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!