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Team 254 Presents: Dreadnought

Team 254 presents our 2020 entry into the FIRST Robotics Competition: Dreadnought. Dreadnought will be competing at the Central Valley Regional, followed by the Silicon Valley Regional and the FIRST Championship in Houston. More information on the robot.

Discovery Day 2019

Event Summary

On November 2, we presented our 2019 robot Backlash at the annual Bay Area Science Festival Discovery Day at Oracle Park. At the event, we showed what FIRST was, described the different competitions for different ages, and explained how our 2019 FRC season went. Team 254 worked in conjunction with Teams 604 (Quixilver), 1072 (Harker Robotics), 1868 (Space Cookies), and 2643 (Dark Matter) to showcase our collective engineering achievements as high school students participating in FIRST. Discovery Day allowed for us to inspire a wider audience within our community and ignite interest in FIRST Robotics.

Our Experience

While Discovery Day gave members of our community more exposure to FRC, it also provided a valuable experience for our team members, who loved facilitating the interactive education that FIRST Robotics entails. People of all ages watched the robot speed around the enclosure, and our robot played catch with them, exhausting the ball for each eager spectator to catch and roll back. We also invited spectators to interact with our robot’s many parts and explained each area’s function to provide them with kinesthetic learning and understanding of Backlash. Discovery Day was a huge success with our community, and it’s an experience we hope to continue creating for others!

2019 Bellarmine VEX Tournament

A Brief Summary

This past weekend, we hosted the Bellarmine Bay Area VEX Tournament, an annually hosted tournament hosted by Team 254’s VEX Program. We had five of our VEX Teams (254B, 254D, 254F, 254W, 254X) compete in the tournament. Congrats to VEX Team 315K Paradigm and VEX Team 3324V Supernovas-Fusion for winning the tournament! We would also like to shoutout VEX Team 3324V for winning the Robot Skills section of the tournament and VEX Teams 95070A Redwood Robotics and 315K Paradigm for winning the Excellence Award.

Event Summary and Highlights

General Summary

Overall, the tournament ran smoothly, we had no major hiccups throughout the event and everyone seemed to have had a great time. Our teams saw varying success, as our VEX teams D, W and F made it to eliminations. This event had many firsts for Bell Vex History, to mention a few, this was the first to have a Bell Vex Logo, and the first to have live scoring.

Robot Performance

254B

Throughout the tournament 254B was struggling with many issues. Most of the issues stemmed from connection and software issues. The robot’s hardware performed well, but not being able to control the hardware lead to this team’s demise. Unfortunately, this team placed last in the tournament. But, it was a great learning experience for the team.

254D

This team was also struggling with various software issues, their automatic positioning system was not working according to plan, leaving them to recreate their autonomous routes throughout the tournament. They were also having trouble getting their massive tray to deploy properly. Ultimately, they ended up near the bottom of the rankings. Because of their past success, 254W chose to pick them as their alliance partner, but lost in the round of 16.

254F

During the qualification matches, the robot performed really well, we were able to slow down the other teams with our very defensive robot. The six motor drive base really helped us push through all the cubes and defend very effectively. Our new and improved arm allowed us to be the fastest team at scoring cubes into the towers while also being able to stack cubes reasonably quickly. We ended up ranked in 7th place and we made it all the way to semifinals.

254W

This team had won 4 of 6 qualification rounds and placed in 20th after qualification rounds. Their new intake design was not working according to plan, causing them to focus on tower control instead of their designed purpose, cube stacking. Fortunately this worked out for their benefit, this team became ranked 23th and decided to choose 254D as their alliance partner. They then lost in the round of 16.

254X

Throughout qualification matches this robot struggled quite a bit. Resulting in 2 wins and 4 losses, this team placed in 45. They had issues stemming from their lift and intake. These issues resulted in slow intake speed and an inability to score very quickly or in high quantities.

A Special Thanks

At Bell Vex, we would not have been able to be so successful without the amazing teams that attended the tournament. We would also like to thank all the volunteers and judges that made this tournament an exciting experience, and all of our mentors, teachers, and parents who helped run the tournament smoothly.

Madtown Throwdown Offseason Tournament

A Brief Summary

This past weekend, we attended Madtown Throwdown, an annually hosted offseason tournament hosted by Team 1323 (Madtown Robotics), in Madera, CA. We had a great time jumping back into action with our robot, Backlash, before the start of the 2020 FRC Season. Shoutout to FRC Team 1323 MadTown Robotics, FRC Team 1678 Citrus Circuits, and FRC Team 971 Spartan Robotics, for winning the tournament!

Team 254’s Backlash and Swerve Bot in an alliance together before an upcoming match

Event Summary and Highlights

Robot Performance (Backlash)

Backlash approaching the HAB zone for a climb before the end of a match

Throughout our qualification matches, we sought to earn the maximum number of ranking points, which meant prioritizing scoring in the rocket in every match to get the rocket RP, as well as climbing and scoring enough points to win. We employed a new rocket RP scoring style that allowed us to utilize our partners well. Since the opposing defense was much better at Chezy Champs, we focused on the top two levels of the rocket and let our partners score on the first level. The HAB RP was a bit harder because of the increased point requirement. Thus, we made sure to always climb successfully and also get our partners to park on the platform. We consistently scored double climbs in our matches.

By the elimination period, we focused on simply winning our matches. We scored as many points as possible by scoring as many cargo balls as possible since they were worth more than hatches. We wanted to score enough hatches such that we had multiple points to score at any moment and avoid getting caught up by defense. We ran our cargo ship autonomous program to place hatch panels on the first two side slots of the cargo ship and then filled the rocket during most of our matches. Sometimes, we switched between the task of scoring hatches and cargo with our alliance partners to confuse defensive opponents.

Alliance Selection (Backlash)

Going into the elimination period, we formed an alliance with Team 1323 MadTown Robotics, Team 4698 Raider Robotics, and Team 6174 Kaprekar’s Constants.

Team 254 representative, Garrett Blosen, poses with our chosen alliance partners

Robot Performance (Swerve Bot)

Our swerve bot on the HAB zone before an upcoming match

With our swerve bot, we had no vision which made alignment quite difficult. Due to our alignment issues, hatch panel placement was harder to accomplish. Instead, we tried to focus more on scoring cargo, in all levels of the rocket and in the cargo ship. However, hatches on level one of the rocket and on the cargo ship were easier to score because we had our camera. We also placed hatches on level one of the rocket to open scoring locations. Then, we scored cargo in on level one of the rocket as well. Our swerve bot also was able to climb onto level three of the HAV with the suction cup climber, so we used that to get us the climb bonus during matches.

Alliance Selection (Swerve Bot)

Going into the elimination period, we formed an alliance with Team 1662 Raptor-Force Engineering, Team 5104 BreakerBots, and Team 2135 Presentation Invasion.

Team 254 representative, Emiliano Hansen, poses with our chosen alliance partners

A Special Thanks

At Madtown, we would not have been able to be so successful without the amazing teams that we were able to work with during our matches. Also a special shout out to our pit crew and drive team for properly maintaining our robot during the tournament. We would also like to highlight the efforts of our alliance readiness crew to keep our alliance partners ready throughout the tournament. Team 254 would also like to thank all the volunteers and judges that made this tournament an exciting experience, and all of our mentors, teachers, and parents who supported us and helped us succeed in this tournament. Special shoutout to Team 1323 MadTown Robotics for making this event possible.

The Team 254 pit crew in action

254 member, Safwaan Khan, in action as a pit crew member

Chezy Champs 2019

A Brief Summary

As part of an eventful weekend, we hosted Chezy Champs, our annually hosted offseason tournament at Bellarmine College Preparatory, in our hometown of San Jose, CA. We had a great time jumping back into action with our robot, Backlash, before the start of the 2020 FRC Season. Alongside, Team 3647 Millenium Falcons, Team 971 Spartan Robotics, and Team 5700 SOTA Cyberdragons, we were able to win the tournament!

Team 254 and alliance partners Team 971 climb the HAB at the end of an elims match

Event Summary and Highlights

Robot Performance

Backlash scores cargo into the rocket shop during a quals match

Throughout our qualification matches, we sought to earn the maximum number of ranking points, which meant prioritizing scoring in the rocket in every match to get the rocket RP, as well as climbing and scoring enough points to win. We employed a new rocket RP scoring style that allowed us to utilize our partners well. Since opposing defense was much better at Chezy Champs, we focused on the top two levels of the rocket and let our partners score on the first level. The HAB RP was a bit harder because of the increased point requirement. Thus, we made sure to always climb successfully and also get our partners to park on the platform. We consistently scored double climbs in our matches.
By the elimination period, we focused on simply winning our matches. We scored as many points as possible by scoring as many cargo balls as possible since they were worth more than hatches. We wanted to score enough hatches such that we had multiple points to score at any moment and avoid getting caught up by defense. We ran our cargo ship autonomous program to place hatch panels on the first two side slots of the cargo ship and then filled the rocket during most of our matches. Sometimes, we switched between the task of scoring hatches and cargo with Team 971 to confuse defensive opponents.

Alliance Selection

Going into the elimination period, we chose to form an alliance with Team 3647 Millenium Falcons, Team 971 Spartan Rootics, and Team 5700 SOTA Cyberdragons.

Team 254 representative, Safwaan Khan, poses with our chosen alliance partners

A Special Thanks

At Chezy Champs, we would not have been able to be so successful without the amazing teams that we were able to work with during our matches. Also a special shout out to our pit crew and drive team for properly maintaining our robot during the tournament. We would also like to highlight the efforts of our alliance readiness crew to keep our alliance partners ready throughout the tournament. Team 254 would also like to thank all the volunteers and judges that made this tournament an exciting experience, and all of our mentors, teachers, and parents who supported us and helped us succeed in this tournament.

Members of Team 4183, Bit Buckets Robotics, hold up their newly acquired Chezy Champs swag

254 member, Safwaan Khan, in action as a scorekeeper

Drive team members, Jack Gnibus and Marcus Ma, enthusiastically clean up the field during a lunch break

Hot San Jose Nights 2019

Event Summary

On September 7th, Team 254 appeared at the 11th Annual Hot San Jose Nights at the Reid-Hillview Airport in San Jose, CA to demonstrate our 2019 season robot, Backlash. We talked about our 2019 season, what we do as a robotics team, and how others can get involved in robotics. To entertain some of the kids that came to see our robot, we even played catch with game pieces using our robot. Many of our team members were also able to speak with other parents about the FIRST Program and how their children could get involved. This event allowed us to share our knowledge and experiences with the surrounding community.

Team 254 President, Jack Gnibus, and Members, Marcus Ma and Emiliano Hansen, show Backlash to the surrounding crowd.

Our Experiences

Outreach leader, Safwaan Khan said, “Hot San Jose Nights was an amazing and exciting first event to attend as Outreach Director. Not only did I get to talk about robots, something I love to do, but I also got to interact with both children and adults. I got to show and explain the functions of the robot to children, and I got to explain the processes in which we construct our robot to adults. Overall, the event was a great way to meet and play with others in our community.” Our team allowed visitors to touch our robot and look at it up close, while also answering any of their questions about our robot. In general, people were astonished to see the speed of our robot and how tall it could expand, and several people asked how they could get involved with what FIRST has to offer. Overall, Hot San Jose Nights was an outstanding outreach event and we wish to continue making an impact in our community!

A crowd of onlookers observe Backlash in action!

Team 254 Member, Robert Ganino, talks about what it’s like to be on the team with an interested visitor.

2019 FRC Deep Dive

Check out our very own Sumi Govindaraju, Daniel George, and Andrew Torrance on First Updates Now’s latest edition of FRC Deep Dive below. If you have any further questions or comments please direct them towards the Chief Delphi thread for this episode.

2019 Technical Resources Release

Team 254 is proud to present the Technical Binder and Code Release for our 2019 Einstein finalist robot, Backlash. If you have any questions, feel free to comment on the respective Chief Delphi threads for our code release and our technical binder release.

2019 FRC World Championship

A Brief Summary

Last week, we attended the 2019 FIRST World Championship in Houston, Texas from April 17th to April 20th. Assigned to the Turing Division, we won the Division Championship Award and the Industrial Design Award sponsored by General Motors.After becoming the Turing Division Champions, we executed a well-planned strategy alongside FRC Team 3310 Black Hawk Robotics, FRC Team 6986 PPT Bots, and FRC Team 948 NRG (Newport Robotics Group), allowing us to earn the second place title at the 2019 FRC World Championship in Houston!

Team 254 poses for a picture at the Hall of Fame Lunch in the George R. Brown Convention Center

Robot Performance

Qualification Matches (Turing Division)

Throughout our qualification matches, we sought to earn the maximum number of ranking points, which meant prioritizing scoring in the rocket in every match to get the rocket RP, as well as climbing and scoring enough points to win. Since we were competing in the 2019 FRC World Championship, most teams could fill a rocket with cargo by themselves or with another team on our alliance, which made our strategy easier to execute. When we were with partners who could manage scoring on the rocket themselves, we primarily worked on distracting defense. Seeing as finishing a rocket is incredibly hard under defense, giving the other teams an open other side of the field allowed them to finish their rocket as we worked on ours. In other matches, where we did not have partners capable of finishing the rocket, we accomplished the task ourselves, while fighting through the defense the best we could. We also made sure to finish each of our matches by climbing onto the HAB, so we could get the HAB docking ranking point. Luckily, we were with many other level 3 climbers, allowing us to stay out in the field longer as they climbed, but we always attempted a double climb for more points with the new climber.

We also kept tiebreaker points in mind during our divisional qualification matches. If there happened to be a tie in ranking points, we always prioritized scoring cargo to boost that metric. It also worked well seeing that cargo balls are worth more than hatch panels.

Alliance Selection

Going into the elimination period in the Turing Division, we chose to form an alliance with FRC Team 3310 Black Hawk Robotics, FRC Team 6986 PPT Bots, and FRC Team 948 NRG (Newport Robotics Group).

Team 254 representative, Brandon Chuang, poses with our chosen alliance partners

Elimination Matches (Turing Division)

During our elimination matches, we focused all our efforts on winning our matches. Since ranking point didn’t matter, we focused on scoring more matchpoints. We put most of our efforts into scoring as many cargo balls as possible, because they were worth more than hatches. We wanted to score enough hatches such that we had multiple points to score at any moment to allow for us to change our scoring location and not get stopped by defense. We ran our cargo ship autonomous program to place hatch panels on the first two side slots of the cargo ship, and then filled the rocket and did any other tasks throughout the rest of the matches.

Backlash with alliance partner, Team 3310, at the end of a match

On the Einstein Field

We generally maintained a similar strategy during the Einstein matches as in theTuring Division elimination round, by placing a larger focus on the number of matchpoints we scored. However, we used the amount of cargo scored was used as a metric in case any matches ended in a tiebreaker. We made it to our final tiebreaker match on the Einstein field and, unfortunately, lost due to an amazing performance carried out by FRC Team 1323 MadTown Robotics, FRC Team 973 Greybots, and FRC Team 5026 Iron Panthers, the Newton Division winners, allowing us to earn the second place title.

A Special Thanks

At the 2019 FIRST World Championship in Houston, we would not have been able to be so successful without the amazing teams that we were able to work with during our matches. Also a special shout out to our pit crew and drive team for properly maintaining our robot during the tournament. We would also like to highlight the efforts of our alliance readiness crew to keep our alliance partners ready throughout the tournament. Team 254 would also like to thank all the volunteers and judges that made this tournament an exciting experience, and all of our mentors, teachers, and parents who supported us and helped us succeed in this tournament.

Members of the Team 254 Pit Crew repair Backlash before an upcoming match

Our drive team poses for a picture on the Einstein Field

An action shot of Team 254’s suction climber at the end of a divisional qualifications match

2019 Silicon Valley Regional Champions!

A Brief Summary

As part of an eventful weekend, we attended the 2019 Silicon Valley Regional, in San Jose, CA. We had a great time at our second tournament of the FIRST Destination: Deep Space Season with our robot, Backlash. We won the Engineering in Excellence Award sponsored by Delphi. Alongside FRC Team 5499 The Bay Orangutans and FRC Team 6418 The Missfits, we were able to win the tournament, earning our 20th Blue Banner at the Silicon Valley Regional!

Team 254 and alliance partners Team 5499 and Team 6418 pose for a picture with Backlash after winning at the 2019 Silicon Valley Regional

Robot Performance

Qualification Matches

Throughout our qualification matches, we executed a strategy in which our goals were to fill one full rocket for a ranking point and to climb to level 3 of the HAB zone at the end of every match. We encountered consistent defense from most opposing alliances, resulting in our failure to fill in a rocket in a few matches. We also tried to maximize scoring cargo balls since it was the tiebreaker metric when it came to matches in which each alliance earned the same number of ranking points. We also maximized the amount of cargo balls scored during qualification matches since cargo balls are worth more in point value than hatch disks. At the tournament, we experimented with a new form of counter defense that involved our alliance partners blocking an opposing alliance’s robot to clear a path to the rocket for us to score. We ended up with a record of 9-0-0 during the qualification match period.

Team 254 places a hatch onto the rocket during the tele-operated period

Alliance Selection

Team 254 representative, Brandon Chuang, stands with Team 5499 and Team 6418 as they agree to join our alliance

Going into the elimination period, we were excited to join an alliance with FRC Team 5499 The Bay Orangutans and FRC Team 6418 The Missfits.

Elimination Matches

During the elimination period, we employed a very dynamic, new strategy that involved our robot and Team 5499’s robot to cross paths in order to draw and confuse defense from the opposing alliance. This strategy was employed to maximize our total cargo score. We knew that Team 5499 was great at scoring cargo, so we did our best to open spots for them to score by placing hatches on the lower two levels of the rocket and the front of the cargo ship. Once each of these areas had a hatch in place, we began scoring cargo. This strategy worked well against defense because the crossing of paths by our robot and Team 5499 confused the opposing alliance’s defense robot. Team 6418 did a great job focusing on playing heavy defense on the opposing alliance.

Team 254 and alliance partners Team 5499 and Team 6418 climb onto the HAB Zone at the end of an eliminations match

A Special Thanks

At the Silicon Valley Regional, we would not have been able to be so successful without the amazing teams that we were able to work with during our qualification and elimination matches. Also a special thanks for our pit crew and drive team for properly maintaining our robot during the tournament. A big thank you to the chairman’s presentation team for handling our team’s Chairman’s Presentation in front of a panel of FIRST Judges. Team 254 would also like to thank all the volunteers and judges that made this tournament an exciting experience, and all of our mentors, teachers, and parents who helped us succeed in this regional.

Our alliance readiness crew assists Team 6241 in before an upcoming qualifications match

Members of Team 254 are congratulated by judges after winning the Engineering in Excellence Award at the 2019 Silicon Valley Regional

Team 254 Driver, Jack Gnibus, celebrates the regional victory with mentor, Joey Diamond

2019 San Francisco Regional Champions!

A Brief Summary

As part of an eventful weekend, we attended the 2019 San Francisco Regional, in San Jose, CA. We had a great time at our first tournament of the FIRST Destination: Deep Space Season with our robot, Backlash. We won the Innovation In Control Award sponsored by Rockwell Automation for our code. Alongside FRC Team 971 Spartan Robotics and FRC Team 5700 SOTA Cyberdragons, we were able to win the tournament, earning another Blue Banner!

Team 254 poses for a picture with Backlash after winning at the 2019 San Francisco Regional

Robot Performance

Qualification Matches

Throughout our qualification matches, we executed a strategy in which our goals were to fill one full rocket for a ranking point and to climb to level 3 of the HAB zone at the end of every match. We encountered consistent defense from most opposing alliances, resulting in our failure to fill in a rocket in a few matches. We also tried to maximize scoring cargo balls since it was the tiebreaker metric when it came to matches in which each alliance earned the same number of ranking points. We also maximized the amount of cargo balls scored during qualification matches since cargo balls are worth more in point value than hatch disks. We ended up with a record of 10-1-1 during the qualification match period.

Team 254 places a cargo ball into the cargo ship during the tele-operated period

Alliance Selection

Team 254 representative, Brandon Chuang, stands with Team 5700 as we join Team 971 in an alliance

Going into the elimination period, we were excited to join an alliance with FRC Team 971 Spartan Robotics and FRC Team 5700 SOTA Cyberdragons.

Elimination Matches

Our main goal was to draw defense away from Team 971’s robot, allowing Team 971 to focus on scoring cargo balls. This strategy gave us the opportunity to score more points, since filling up the rocket did not give our alliance an advantage during the elimination period. Though we focused on distracting defense from the opposing alliance, we scored a few hatches for extra points. By scoring hatches on the rocket, we also opened up more options for Team 971 to score cargo balls. If we encountered particularly hard defense, we always had the option of scoring a hatch on level 1 of the rocket and getting around the defense later. This strategy allowed us to continuously have a lead during the match. In endgame, we climbed to either level 2 or level 3 of the HAB. Whenever we chose to execute a double climb, both our robot and Team 971’s robot climbed to level 3 of the HAB. During single climbs, Team 971 focused on level 3 of the HAB while we focused on climbing to level 2 of the HAB.

Team 254 and alliance partners Team 971 and Team 5700 load onto the HAB Zone before an upcoming eliminations match

Our alliance readiness crew assists Team 5700 in before an upcoming eliminations match

A Special Thanks

At the San Francisco Regional, we would not have been able to be so successful without the amazing teams that we were able to work with during our qualification and elimination matches. Also a special thanks for our pit crew and drive team for properly maintaining our robot during the tournament. A big thank you to the chairman’s presentation team for handling our team’s Chairman’s Presentation in front of a panel of FIRST Judges. Team 254 would also like to thank all the volunteers and judges that made this tournament an exciting experience, and all of our mentors, teachers, and parents who helped us succeed in this regional.

Members of Team 254 cheer enthusiastically after winning a regional

Team 254 Business Development Director, Suraj Roy, discusses our business plan with a judge for the Entrepreneurship Award

Team 254 Presents: Backlash

Team 254 presents our 2019 entry into the FIRST Robotics Competition: Backlash. Backlash will be competing at the San Francisco Regional, followed by the Silicon Valley Regional and the FIRST Championship in Houston. More information on the robot.

VEX States 2019

On March 15, 2019, VEX teams D, F, and X flew to Los Angeles States, and team M went to San Jose States, to compete for a spot at VEX Worlds. Unfortunately, none of our teams won an instant qualification to Worlds; however, teams D and F lost at semifinals at LA, one match away from being qualified, and team M won the Build Award!

At San Jose, team M had to battle out against some of the toughest teams in the area. Even despite the tough competition and minor robot issues during qualifications, team M was still able to keep a tough fight. At LA, all 3 of our teams ended up high in qualifications. Team D and F allied, while X was chosen by another good team. However, in their first match team X went against the two winners of the Google Signature event, which was the most difficult tournament our teams went to this season, happening a few weeks ago. Despite not winning a qualification at States, our teams will most likely get qualified through skills or online challenges. In skills, teams D and F are 12th and 13th in California rankings, and we are a finalist for the website online challenge. By next week, hopefully we will have a better idea of how many teams we will be sending to Worlds!

VEX Turning Point By The Bay Champions!

On January 19, 2019, 254 VEX teams 254D, M, X, and W attended the 2019 VEX Turning Point At The Bay tournament in Richmond. Overall, the tournament was the best tournament yet this season, with 254X winning the tournament along with team 81818X, and 254D winning the Excellence Award. Both teams are now qualified to attend a California State Championship in March.

During qualification matches, 254M got 2nd, 254D got 8th, 254X got 11th, and 254W got 15th. For elimination matches, team D and M allied with each other in the 2nd seed alliance, while X allied with 81818X in the third seed, and W allied with 95070C. 254W got eliminated in the first round, the round of 16, while the other 254 teams moved on. In the semifinals, 254X and 81818X fought and won a tough match against 254M and D, and moved on to win the finals. Last, while awards were being announced, team 254D was given the Excellence Award for overall great performance in the competition, during the judge’s presentation, and with robot skills.

Madtown Throwdown Offseason Tournament

A Brief Summary

As part of an eventful weekend, we attended Madtown Throwdown, an annually hosted offseason tournament hosted by Team 1323 (Madtown Robotics), in Madera, CA. We had a great time jumping back into action with our robot, Lockdown, before the start of the 2019 FRC Season. Alongside, FRC Team 1323 MadTown Robotics, their offseason robot (9323), and our own programming robot (9254), we were able to win the tournament!

Team 254 and alliance partners Team 1323 and our programming robot 9254 in position before an elims match

Event Summary and Highlights

General Summary

Overall, Madtown Throwdown was a great event for our team. Lockdown, our competition robot, went undefeated 15-0. Our programming robot, was run by an all-freshman pit crew and drive team to ensure that our new members gain a valuable experience before the 2019 FRC Season. The programming robot had a great qualifications match record and was lucky to join Lockdown in an alliance at the tournament. We also had a swerve robot, which we worked on all summer, with a 3-person pit crew, which finished 2nd to last place in the tournament. With rotating pit crews and drive teams, all team members were able to gain some valuable technical experience at the tournament.

Programming Robot Drive Team Members, Abhinav Nallapa and Dylan Shumba, are seen in action

Robot Performance

Competition Robot Strategy

During qualification matches, we aimed to earn all 4 ranking points. In order to to reach this goal, we had to run our switch autonomous program. We also fought to achieve scale dominance as early as possible during the match to allow for time to shore up our own switch/exchange, attack the opposing alliance’s switch, and hang at the end of the match. We generally went for the scale first and peeled off to either our own switch or the opposing alliance’s switch whenever needed.
During alliance selection, we partnered with Team 1323 Madtown Robotics, their offseason robot (9323), and our own programming robot (9254). During the elimination matches, we worked with Team 1323 and ran our dual autonomous program to gain dominance over the scale, while ensuring ownership of our switch as well. Lockdown and 1323’s competition robot focused on scale ownership, and 1323’s competition robot would fall back for defense whenever necessary. When we had a headstart on the scale, Lockdown would attack the opponent switch, as seen during quarterfinals and semifinals. 1323’s competition robot hung at the end of the match, but we did not pursue a buddy climb since the other two robots were unable to climb onto our forks.

Programming Robot Strategy

During the qualification matches, our programming robot played a supportive role and generally tried to get a few cubes scored in its switch, scale, and exchange. However, during the elimination matches, our programming robot functioned as a switch/exchange robot to ensure that we had enough cubes to use the levitate powerup. We also chose to defend robots from the opposing alliance when given the opportunity.

Summer Project Robot Strategy

During the qualifications matches, our summer project robot functioned as a switch/exchange robot to defend our own switch and make sure there were cubes in our vault. Sometimes, we would also attack our opponent’s switch. Unfortunately, our swerve robot was not chosen during the elimination period.

Lockdown and our Summer Project Robot in position before a qualification match

A Special Thanks

Since this was Team 254’s third time attending Madtown Throwdown, we would like to say thank you to Team 1323 (Madtown Robotics) for hosting the tournament and making us feel welcome!

Some new members on Team 254 celebrate the team’s victory

Discovery Day 2018

Event Summary

On November 3rd, Team 254 appeared at the Bay Area Science Festival Discovery Day in AT&T Park to demonstrate our 2018 season robot Lockdown. We talked about our 2018 season, what we do as a robotics team, and how others can get involved in robotics. We collaborated with Teams 1868 (Space Cookies), 2643 (Dark Matter), 4159 (Cardinalbotics), and 5026 (Iron Panther Robotics) to demonstrate to people what robotics and FIRST have allowed us to accomplish as young high school students. This event allowed us to share our knowledge and experiences with the surrounding community.

254 Members and alumni, Themis Hadjioannou, pose for a team picture

Our Experiences

Our experience at Discovery Day not only spread awareness for STEM within our community, but also made an impact on our team. Outreach leader, Abhinav Nallapa stated, “I loved seeing the smiles and the cheers from the kids watching when they saw our robot lifting up power cubes 7 feet into the air.” Our team allowed visitors to touch our robot and look at it up close, while also answering any of their questions about our robot. In general, people were astonished to see the speed of our robot and how tall it could expand, and a several people asked how they could get involved with what FIRST has to offer. Overall, Discovery Day was an outstanding outreach event and we wish to continue making such a profound impact in our community!

Team 254 Outreach Director, Abhinav Nallapa, shows the capabilities of Lockdown to interested visitors

Capital City Classic 2018

A Brief Sumary

As part of an eventful weekend, we attended Capital City Classic, an annually hosted offseason tournament hosted by Team 1678 (Citrus Circuits), in Davis, CA. We had a great time jumping back into action with our robot, Lockdown, before the start of the 2019 FRC Season. Alongside, FRC Team 1323 MadTown Robotics, FRC Team 199 Deep Blue, and FRC Team 3859 Wolfpack Robotics, we were able to win the tournament!

Team 254 Members pose with their alliance partners and fellow champions

Event Highlights

General Summary

Team 254 hangs at the end of a quarterfinals match

Overall, Capital City Classic was a great event for our team. After ending with a record of 15-0, our team members were excited throughout the tournament. With an 8 person pit crew and drive team, we were very effective and made sure the rest of our team members were at home working on our summer project robot to prepare to Madtown in 2 weeks.

Robot Performance

In general, we prioritized ranking points throughout the event. Since many robots at the event did not focus on the scale, we adopted a strategy of aggressive offense where we would score on our opponent’s switch. We would also focus on maintaining ownership of the scale and climbing at the end of the match for the extra ranking point. We ended up seeding first with 31 ranking points over 9 matches.
During Alliance Selection, we chose to form an alliance with Team 1323 since they had a great scale robot that could really help us establish a lead during auton. To accompany two strong scale robots we looked for two robots skilled in locking down the switches and exchange, like Team 199 and Team 3859.
During elims, we worked with Team 1323 to lock down ownership of the scale during auton. If necessary, Team 1323 would focus on offense towards the opposing alliance’s switch. During finals, we did have some scale competition with team Team 1678 and Team 1425 on the opposing alliance. Thus, we played more conservatively and made sure we had a solid buffer on the scale before rotating to other tasks. We would also like to recognize the opposing alliance of Team 1678 (Citrus Circuits), Team 1425 (Error Code Xero), Team 5458 (Digital Minds), and Team 4171 (BayBots).

Members of the Team 254 Pit Crew repair Lockdown before an upcoming Finals Match

A Special Thanks

Since this was Team 254’s first time at Capital City Classic, we would like to say thank you to Team 1678 (Citrus Circuits) for hosting the tournament and making us feel welcome.

Chezy Champs 2018

A Brief Sumary

As part of an eventful weekend, we hosted Chezy Champs, our annually hosted offseason FRC tournament at Bellarmine College Preparatory, in our hometown of San Jose, CA. We had a great time jumping back into action with our robot, Lockdown, before the start of the 2019 FRC Season. Alongside, FRC Team 1678 Team Citrus Circuits, FRC Team 649 M-SET Fish, and FRC Team 2557 SOTAbots, we were able to win the tournament!

Robot Performance

Lockdown faces some competition in scoring on the scale

Throughout the qualification matches, we had a very loose strategy. We had a new drive team for this year, so we were very relaxed in our approach to the game and generally focused scoring on the scale. Though we lost a few quals matches and did not seed first, we were chosen to join an alliance with generous Team 1678 (Citrus Circuits). During elims, we had scale-heavy matches and switch-heavy matches. During our scale-heavy matches, we worked with Team 1678 to score on the scale until we had a substantial lead. After focusing on the scale, we would divert our attention to our switch or attack our opponent’s switch of necessary. For finals, our objective was to build a solid lead after auto and then maintain ownership of the scale. We ensured that we completed this objective by placing all of the switch fence cubes on the scale. Whenever we had a lead on the scale, 1678 would maintain it and we would do our best to slow Team 1323 down by attacking opponent switch and disrupting their pyramid-scale cycles. We would like to congratulate the winning alliance of Team 3310 (Black Hawk Robotics), Team 1323 (MadTown Robotics), Team 2659 (RoboWarriors), and Team 1538 (The Holy Cows).

Team 254 Members show Lockdown to a visitor

A Special Thanks

Chezy Champs was very special this year due to the efforts of so many people and organizations. Team 254 would like to thank our friends from RoboSports Network (RSN) for providing our audience with such a great analysis of each match and team at the tournament. We would also like to thank all the volunteers, who helped make Chezy Champs possible. It was truly an incredible experience to host an offseason tournament attended by so many talented teams, even those who chose to attend from out of state, and to make new friends and catch up with old ones too!

Bellarmine VEX Volunteer

The Bellarmine VEX tournament will be taking place on 11/17 this year. As this event is run by our team, we need both students and parents to volunteer. We greatly appreciate any help!

Parent Volunteer Signups

Student Volunteer Signups

2018-2019 Team 254 New Members

Congratulations to all new members who were accepted on to the team. Hope you all have a good school year and a great season! Here is the list of accepted students, displayed using ID numbers.

New Members:

220076 220157 220388 220413 220436 221032
221039 221222 221247 221263 221315 221316
221351 221359 221365 221394 221408 221423
221433 222023 222024 222049 222058 222061
222066 222083 222094 222095 222099 222124
222127 222129 222131 222135 222137 222148
222149 222158 222168 222173 222174 222179
222188 222195 222196 222204 222218 222219
222224 222226 222196 222204 222228 222260
222269 222279 222285 222288 222302 222313
222323 222333 222335 222350 222355 222365
222371 222381 222387 222402 222404 222409
222419 222421 222423 222426 222427 222428
222435 222436 222437