The Tuxedo Panda's have generously organized a pre-states scrimmage for teams. This will be a more formal scrimmage than in past seasons. There will be two fields with referees, and inspections will be available. Additionally, they will have a practice judging session with feedback.

Judging times will be assigned upon arrival. This is the only format where our judges can give formal feedback to our teams! The event is free, and open to all teams, however, space is limited. Should the registration exceed capacity, preference will be given to teams who have qualified for the Championship on Feb 24th.

Pizza will be available as a pre-order.

Date: Feb 18th
Time: 10:00am-4:00pm
Location: Pulaski Community Youth Center, 6671 Riverlawn Court, Radford, VA.

If your team is interested in participating in the upcoming event, please complete the registration form below.

Registration Form:

Awards Deadlines are coming quickly! Please be aware of the deadlines below:

Thursday, February 8, 2018, 3:00 P.M. Eastern Time

  • Chairman’s Award: Submitted by a Student Award Submitter* through the Dashboard. 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.
  • Woodie Flowers Award: Submitted by a Student Award Submitter through the Dashboard. Presented to an outstanding Mentor in the robotics competition who best leads, inspires, teaches, and empowers their team using excellent communication skills.

Thursday, February 15, 2018 at 3:00 P.M. Eastern Time

  • Dean’s List Award: Submitted by a designated Dean’s List Award Submitter** through the Dashboard. Celebrates outstanding student leaders whose passion for and effectiveness at attaining FIRST ideals is exemplary.
  • Entrepreneurship Award: Submitted by a Student Award Submitter through the Dashboard. Celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit by recognizing a team that has developed the framework for a comprehensive business plan to scope, manage, and achieve team objectives.

*Team members must be designated as a Student Award Submitter on the roster in order to submit an award. To complete the submission, once designated on the roster, the Student Award Submitter will want to login to their account at and select the “My Teams” tab from the Dashboard. Where the team is located, they will want to select “Certificates and Awards” then the name of the award they are submitting from the drop-down menu.

**The Dean’s List Award may be submitted by the Lead Coach/Mentor 1, Lead Coach Mentor 2, or an invited Dean’s List Award Submitter.

For additional awards and submission details, please visit the Awards page. Please be aware of the submission deadlines above, and email before the submission deadline for assistance. Late submissions will not be accepted.


Deadlines Approaching!

  • Payment Deadlines Approaching on January 31, 2018: Teams who are registered for additional Regional Events, Additional In-District Events, and Additional Inter-District Events must secure payment prior to 5:00 P.M. Eastern Time on January 31, 2018.  This deadline also applies to prequalified teams who have registered to attend the FIRST Championship. For pricing information and additional payment dates, please visit our Pricing Structure and Payment Terms page.
  • Dr. Bart Kamen Memorial Scholarship: The 2018 Dr. Bart Kamen Memorial FIRST® Scholarship application deadline is February 1, 2018. This transportable scholarship is for students pursuing degrees in Biomedical Engineering & Pre-Med. Learn more and apply here.

There is a new bill, SB179 being introduced in MD by state Senator Guzzone that will give tax breaks to property owners for mainly assisting community based teams. Several FIRST mentors and students will be testifying to the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee on the bills behalf.

More info can be found here -

This Bill gives counties and cities the authority to offer a property tax credit that would benefit property owners that rent space to “a public school robotics program or nonprofit robotics program in the State” or operated robotics programs in the State. The language is defined similarly to the robotics grant offered by the Maryland Department of Education this year.

If the Bill is enacted, and if a county or city enacts a credit, an eligible property owner would pay less property tax. This may provide an incentive to property owners to provide space to robotics teams. In particular this should benefit teams that are not tied to space in a public school.

The Bill will be heard by the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee on Tuesday, January 30 at 1:30 p.m.

For the Bill to move forward, the Committee must recommend approval to the full State Senate. If the Senate approves the Bill, it will cross-over to the House of Delegates for another committee hearing.

We recommend that Maryland teams, including mentors/coaches and parents, contact Senator Guzzone and their local legislators about supporting this bill.

FIRST knows that teams are super-busy and in the middle of “build season”. That's why they have worked to make booking hotel rooms much easier for teams by doing a lot of the leg-work for you.

FIRST has secured group rates for hotels through Experient for teams, mentors, judges and any other person attending FIRST Robotics Competition events.

Out-of-town participants can take advantage of the fabulous concessions FIRST has negotiated with each hotel. Here’s what you get:

  • Low rates, guaranteed
  • Earn reward points from your preferred hotel brand
  • Complimentary breakfast
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi in all guest rooms within group block
  • Complimentary parking for all attendees within the group block
  • Stay at hotels reviewed and sanctioned by FIRST

Links to the Experient Event Housing site can be found on each of the FIRST Chesapeake event webpages, or just go here and search by state.

Originally posted at

Super Regionals - Then and Now
Super Regional competitions were piloted in 2014 with the intent of creating a more balanced progression of competition. As FIRST Tech Challenge grew, the single World Championship accommodating 128 teams resulted in a very small percentage of teams making it to the top level of competition.

Super Regional events provided a solution to this problem, and allowed more teams to reach a higher level of competition. The events were a tremendous success. The regions that stepped up to organize, fundraise and execute the events were amazing. The sponsors who believed in the vision donated over a million dollars to make them happen. The team experience was unlike anything else. We are truly grateful for the passion and effort that went into these events.

Since the inception of Super Regionals several things have changed. Most significantly, we’ve added a second World Championship, as well as new World Championship venues.

In 2017 FIRST Tech Challenge doubled the number of teams attending World Championships from 128 to 256. The percentage of teams progressing from one competition level to the next was turned on its head. In addition to more spots for 40 international FIRST Tech Challenge teams we added a waitlist/lottery for 80 FIRST Tech Challenge teams at World Championships. That still left spots for 136 Super Regional teams, or 47% of teams competing at Super Regionals.

The cost to teams competing in both Super Regionals and World Championships is not insignificant. In addition, the cost of the events themselves is substantial, the volunteer and coach time, and the compression of the FIRST Tech Challenge season, it really adds up. Most importantly, the original reason for creating Super Regionals which was helping more students reach a higher level of competition is being solved by the addition of a second World Championship event.

Taking into account all these factors, 2018 will be the last year of FIRST Tech Challenge Super Regionals.

Houston and Detroit World Championships each offer new opportunities, mainly in layout and the chance to have all programs again under one, enormous roof. In fact each of the new venues can accommodate more FIRST Tech Challenge teams than our previous venues.

Starting in 2019 we are happy to announce that each World Championship will host 160 FIRST Tech Challenge teams, or a total of 320 teams from around the world. We will continue to make the FIRST Tech Challenge World Championship experience loud. Teams can expect to compete side-by-side on the largest stages with FIRST Robotics Competitions and in places like Minute Maid Park and Ford Field as well as the George R. Brown and Cobo Convention Centers.

The growth of FIRST Tech Challenge continues, and we love it. Making our program available to more and more students is what it’s all about. We’re proud to have Championships that recognize and celebrate the students, coaches, volunteers and sponsors that make it all happen. I look forward to seeing you out at the competitions and then changing the world!


Ken Johnson, FIRST Tech Challenge Director


Team Avatar Submission System

Written by Danny Diaz, FIRST Robotics Competition Systems Engineer

As announced in a previous blog postFIRST Robotics Competition teams will be allowed to create and submit Team Avatars that will be used to represent their teams during the FIRST POWER UP season. Today we're proud to announce that the Team Avatar submission system is now open! Through this submission system teams can submit new Team Avatars for consideration, delete existing Team Avatars, or review the status of a pending Team Avatar. However, even though the system is now accepting Team Avatars for submission, FIRST Robotics Competition staff will not begin reviewing submitted Team Avatars until Thursday, February 1. 

To successfully submit a Team Avatar for consideration, teams must gather these three items:

  1. Team Number - Hopefully the team number is obvious. If not, ask your team. 
  2. Team Avatar - This is the PNG image you will submit that will represent your team, according to the Team Avatar specification.
  3. Avatar Access Code - This is your team's Team Avatar access code that your Lead Coach Mentors 1 and 2 can retrieve from the Team Registration System (similar to retrieving your team's Q&A Authorization Code). In the Team Dashboard, go to the `Team Options' section and click on `Payment & Product.' Then click on `Passwords/Voucher Codes' and you will find the 10 character code listed under FIRST/Avatar Key.

Once all three items have been collected, a team's official representative can go to the following address:

On that page, official team representatives must enter their Team Number and their Avatar Key Access Code, check the box to agree to the terms, and click the Continue button. The official team representative can then upload a Team Avatar for consideration, check the pending status of a Team Avatar, or delete any existing Team Avatar.

Once a Team Avatar is accepted the pending status will be updated within the Team Avatar submission system and the Team Avatar will appear on the team's 2018 team page - for example, the 2018 team page for team 166 is located here:

If a Team Avatar is rejected for any reason the Team Avatar submission system will be updated and a message will indicate why the Team Avatar was rejected and what steps need to be taken to resolve the issues. Please note that the Team Avatar submission system does not send email to anyone for any reason.

FIRST Tech Challenge Teams- the Promote Award and Compass Award links are ready to receive your uploads.

Make sure to title your file with your team number and award name.
Example file names: 1234-Promote.mp4 or 1234-Compass.mp4

These awards are given at the FTC Virginia State Championship Sponsored by ECPI University, Sat. February 24th.

FRC 6893 Bladerunners, a rookie all-girls team, is looking for new members. Coached by experienced FRC mentors, this team would welcome middle school/high school girls from Washigton DC, Maryland and Virginia; no experience necessary. See details below.

Meeting Place: College Park Aviation Museum
Meeting Address: 1985 Corporal Frank Scott Dr., College Park, MD 20740 (accessible via Metro's Green Line)

Core Meeting Days: Required meetings for team members

  • Friday -- 5pm to 9pm
  • Saturday -- 1pm to 6pm

Other Meeting Days: Not required but open for available members

  • Monday, Wednesday -- 5pm to 9pm
  • Saturday -- 9am to 1pm

To join the team or for more information, contact Vijay at .