Blog

Bellarmine VEX Volunteer

The Bellarmine VEX tournament will be taking place on 11/18 & 11/19 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

2016-2017 Team 254 Roster

Congratulations to all 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:

220212 220216 218421 219132 219058 218192
220006 218023 220048 220249 220034 219134
220157 218246 220019 220188 220233 220089
219386 220146 220387 220094 220124 219252
220402 220395 219432 220106 220114 220167
220110 218104 220407 220117 220116 220144
219297 217445 220288 220141 220194 220344
220159 220130 217173 217079 220076 218215
220020 220198 218022 220097 219011 219062
219397 220400 220297 217083 220149 219430
220392 220330

2016 FRC Championship

Overview

This past weekend, from Tuesday until Saturday, we participated in the FIRST Robotics Competition World Championships in Saint Louis, Missouri. On Tuesday, a smaller group of students left early to set up the pit and make sure everything would be set up for when the rest of the students arrived on Wednesday. We were placed into the Newton division, and with Team 1241, Team 1731, and Team 708 we played some great games in eliminations, but unfortunately were eliminated in the subdivision finals.

Qualifications

On Thursday and Friday, we played 10 qualification matches across both days, and earned 9 wins and 1 loss throughout those games. In qualification match 100, we even managed to push a disabled robot onto the batter, securing us an extra ranking point and winning us the game with a final score of 140-139. The qualifications overall went well for us, as we earned 35 ranking points and ended up as second seed going into eliminations.

Eliminations, Einstein, and Awards

Saturday opened with the alliance selections, and we partnered up with the first seed team, Team 1241, Team 1731, and Team 708. With this alliance we hoped to consistently score highly while preventing the opposing alliance from having free reign on their side of the field. This strategy seemed to work out throughout our quarterfinal and semifinal games, with us scoring around 240 points in most of those games. In fact, we scored 254 points in our second semifinals game excluding foul points; however, a red card on our alliance prevented our score from being recorded that game. Moving into the finals, we matched up against an alliance including Team 217, Team 4678, Team 3476, and Team 188. Although we played hard, we were eliminated from the tournament in the Newton finals.

In the end, we would like to congratulate Team 330, Team 2481, Team 120, and Team 1086 for their success in winning the FIRST Robotics Competition World Championships. Additionally, we are proud of Team 987’s achievement in earning the Chairman’s Award, cementing them as a Hall of Fame team. Overall, we are extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to interact and play against many great teams at the Championships and hope to do even better next year.

2016 VEX World Championship

This past week, VEX Team 254C travelled to Louisville, Kentucky to compete in the 2016 VEX Worlds Championship. 254C competed in the Arts division at worlds. In total, there were four other high school divisions, each consisting of 100 teams from around the world.

254C discussing strategy with their alliance partners

By the end of the 250 qualification matches, 254C had won 6 of it's 10 qualification matches, and was ranked 26th by alliance selection. Unfortunately, this was not enough to convince other teams to invite them to an alliance, and so their Nothing But Net season ended there.

254C's drive team watches their robot perform during the autonomous period

However, students have already begun to think about the new 2016-2017 VEX Robotics Competition, Starstruck, which will require a drastically different design from Nothing but Net.

Silicon Valley Regional Champion

This past weekend, we participated in the Silicon Valley Regional hosted by Google.

Qualifications

Throughout the qualification matches, the work we put in over the past few weeks payed off as we performed stronger in many areas than we had at CVR. We overall performed well, consistently crossing defenses and shooting high goals from the courtyard while earning a win/loss record of 8-0. Our success in the qualifications allowed us to place second in ranking moving onto the alliance selections.

Demonstrating Pit Display

Eliminations and Awards

During alliance selection, we went with the first ranked team, Team 1678, and Team 1662. With those teams, we went undefeated throughout eliminations and came out as the regional champions. During our second quarterfinal game, we even scored the highest amount of points in the tournament with a score of 205. Although we didn't win any awards, we were honored to play with such great teams and are looking forward to the upcoming World Championships.

Central Valley Regional Champion

Team 254 just returned from the Central Valley Regional.

Qualifications

During the Central Valley Regional, from Thursday to Sunday, we competed with a variety of teams from all throughout California. Throughout the qualification matches, our robot, Dropshot, performed solidly, and despite one match with connection problems, it won 9 out of its 10 matches, ranking us at second place for the qualification matches. In our second quarterfinal match, we even scored 210 points, the highest score of this season so far.

Eliminations and Awards

During alliance selection, we joined an alliance with Team 1678 (Citrus Circuits) and Team 3970 (Duncan Dynamics). In our second quarterfinal match, we scored 210 points, the highest score of this season so far. We also made it all the way to the finals and won the regional, scoring 205 points in our first finals game. After the exciting finals, we also received the Innovation in Control Award for Dropshot’s targeting system. Overall, this tournament was successful for us, but we plan to continue iterating on our designs and improving shot consistency for the upcoming Silicon Valley Regional.

Dropshot Reveal

Team 254 proudly presents our 2016 entry into the FIRST Robotics Competition: Dropshot. Dropshot will be competing at the Central Valley Regional this weekend, followed by the Silicon Valley Regional and the last single FIRST Championship. More information on the robot.

2016 Duel In Diablo VEX Tournament

This past Saturday, VEX teams 254E and 254F travelled to Concord, to compete in the Duel in Diablo Nothing but Net VEX Tournament. At the tournament, they competed against 27 other teams from around the area.

Team 254E works on their robot between matches.

Both teams performed very well throughout the qualification matches. 254E, with just a single loss, finished the qualification matches ranked 3rd overall. 254F also performed fairly well, ranking 11th by the end of the qualification matches.

254F uses their match loads during a match.

During alliance selection, 254E invited 254F to join the third seed alliance. Due to the size of the tournament, each alliance only contained two teams. Unfortunately, this turned into a problem when the robots from 254E and 254F had issues, and there were no other robots to rely on. This led to the alliance being eliminated during quarterfinals.

254E & 254F strategize before their first quarterfinals match.

Despite not doing as well as they had hoped during eliminations, 254F was awarded the sportsmanship award.

2015 Tracy Triangle VEX Tournament

Yesterday, VEX teams 254B, 254D, 254E, 254F, 254G, & 254H attended the Tracy Triangle VEX Tournament. With over 80 teams, this was the largest VEX tournament our teams attended this season.

Team 254E lines up their robot.

Throughout the tournament, all 254 teams performed very well. By the end of the qualification matches, 254B had gone undefeated and ranked 3rd out of all teams. During alliance selection 254B invited 254F & 4768C to join their alliance. Additionally, 254H joined an alliance with 4768B and 4768. 254E also joined an alliance with 5772 and 5327C.

254F discussing strategy with 254G.

Unfortunately, teams 254B, 254F, & 254H were eliminated during quarterfinals. 254E made it through several challenging elimination matches, but ultimately lost in their 3rd final match by a small margin.

Students pose for a team picture.

At the end of the tournament, 254H was awarded the Create Award for their robot design. Congratulations to the tournament champions 5776T, 8000B, & 8000D.

FRC Kickoff

This Saturday kicked off the first day of the 2016 FRC season with this year’s game, Stronghold. After the initial game reveal, both students and mentors gathered in the robotics lab to analyze this game’s rules and come up with strategies to tackle this year’s challenge. Once kickoff wrapped up around 4:00, the team began work on designing and prototyping parts of the robot.

Students presenting strategy

2015 Willow Glen VEX Tournament

Yesterday, Team 254 for had the opportunity to compete in the Willow Glen Plaza VRC Tournament. VEX Teams 254A, 254B, 254C, 254D, 254E, & 254H had the opportunity to compete against 18 other VEX teams from around the area.

vex

Overall, all 254 VEX teams performed very well. By the end of the qualification matches, 254C was ranked 1st, and 254B was ranked 2nd. 254E and 254A also performed very well, ranking 6th and 9th, respectively. All 254 teams made it into the elimination matches, with the first seed alliance consisting of 254C, 254B, and 254F. Unfortunately 254D’s alliance was eliminated during the quarterfinals, and 254C, 254B, & 254F lost to 254A’s alliance during semifinals.

vex

During the finals matches, teams 563F, 254A, & 256B went head to head with 563, 254E, & 6734B. After four exciting matches, 563F, 254A, & 256B won, due to a last minute strategy change that led to the 254E accidentally entering their opponent’s loading zone, which led to a disqualification.

vex

Additionally, 254C also won the Excellence Award, and ranked first in robot skills at the tournament.

2015 Central Valley Nothing But Net Tournament

Last Saturday (12/5/2015) VEX teams 254C, 254B, and 254F competed in the 5th Annual Central Valley VEX Robotics Challenge. For all teams that competed, this was their 3rd tournament of the season, so it was a great opportunity to implement changes based on their previous tournaments.

Team 254B preparing for an elimination match.

Overall, all teams performed very well at the tournament. Throughout the day, all 254 teams were ranked highly, and were strong competitors. 254B ended the qualification matches ranked 7th, and was invited to join the 3rd seed alliance with teams 973A & 4033B. Team 254C went into alliance selection as the undefeated first seed robot, and picked teams 3396 & 973G to join their alliance. While team 254B unfortunately lost during the semifinals, team 254C was able to win all of their matches throughout eliminations, and ultimately won the tournament.

Team 254C poses with their robot, trophy, and alliance partners.

Despite not making it into the elimination matches, team 254F impressed the judges with their robot and strategy, and was awarded the Judges Award.

Team 254F & their alliance partners discussing strategy before their match.

This tournament was a rather successful one for Team 254, and everyone involved learned a lot. Teams will now return to working on their robots and strategies for the upcoming Willow Glen tournament.

2015 DVHS VEX Tournament

This past weekend (10/18), VEX Teams 254A, 254B, 254C, 254F, & 254E all competed at the DVHS VEX Tournament. Being the first tournament of the season, it was a great opportunity for our VEX teams to determine how their robots functioned during competition, and to test their strategies.

Team 254A making last minute changes to their code.

With their single flywheel design, and a strong lift, team 254C was eventually invited to join the sixth seed alliance, with teams 824C and 5327B. After several close matches during quarter-finals, narrowly won and moved on the semi-finals, where they were unfortunately defeated by teams 8000A, 8000D, and 5776Y. Congratulations to tournament winners, 5776T, 5369, & 5776.

Team 254C lifting their alliance partner.

Overall, our teams all had a lot of fun at the tournament, and learned a lot from other teams. Several of our teams now have plans to work to improve their robots for the upcoming Bellarmine VEX Tournament.

254 Featured in AT&T Documentary

Check it out! Our FRC team is one of the five featured in this AT&T documentary of the World Championships in St. Louis! Even though we only made it to division quarterfinals, the event was great!

"RoboLeague, a documentary airing on AT&T U-Verse Buzz Ch. 1000, follows five FIRST Robotics Competition teams as they strive for glory at the 2015 FIRST Championship!"

https://vimeo.com/139506546

Chezy Champs

The Second Annual Chezy Champs went even better than the first! Congratulations to the winning alliance of 3476, 971, and 968! Everyone had a great time; thank you for coming. Special thanks to the countless hours donated by volunteers the past few weeks. See you all next year!

Santa Clara County Fair

Showing off some impressive stacking maneuvers

We had a great time at the Santa Clara County Fair today. Deadlift did some fancy stacking for the crowds. Teams were demoing robots from 2012, 2013, and 2014, but Deadlift was the only 2015 representation during our timeslot. Thanks to Team 3256 for inviting us!

STEAM Festival

Several of our team members had a great time at the STEAM festival last weekend featuring Deadlift. It was a very fun and busy event!

2015 FRC Championship

Overview

With the increased size of the championship from 400 teams last year to just over 600 teams this year, 4 new divisions were added: Tesla, Carson, Carver, and Hopper. Team 254 was a member of the Carson division and ended up seeding first, picking teams 973, 999, and 4499, and then unfortunately experiencing some bad luck and being eliminated in divisional quarterfinals.

However, the team received the Industrial Design Award for their outstanding robot and had a great time in St. Louis on Sunday.

Qualification Rounds

The team played a total of 10 qualification matches on Thursday and Friday. Some matches were tough, but in others the team scored more than 240 points! By the end of Friday, 254 seeded first with a qualification average of 211.1, the highest of any team at the Championship, let alone any official FIRST event.

Here are some videos of our Qual matches, recorded by Team 1511: Rolling Thunder.

Qual 9: https://www.yo...v=JZOhJp0zlb8

Qual 22: https://www.yo...v=RW7emwjSH3I

Qual 35: https://www.yo...v=tT2bwv63cBk (one of our best of the season!)

Qual 47: https://www.yo...v=FUoWPrFWpI4

Qual 63: https://www.yo...v=gWIw4apFnLg

Qual 70: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Epkfyrgus8

Qual 83: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IeSvV7UJxg

Qual 91: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDrRzd2mqQ8

Qual 103: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bTKW90O1MY

Qual 114: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HepI6GlEOQg

We had to wake up very early on Thursday and Friday to guarantee good seats in the stands for our scouts!

The team used a tethered ramp that fell down after autonomous to allow us to stack from the human player

The team's autonomous ran perfectly throughout all of the qualification matches

Awards, Alliance Selection, and Playoffs

The team received the Industrial Design Award. This award celebrates form and function in an efficiently designed machine that effectively addresses the game challenge. The judges were impressed with the robot's ability to stack effectively both from the landfill and from the human player station by using a tethered ramp. This year, awards were shared between 2 divisions (about 150 teams total), so to receive the award was quiet prestigious!

During Alliance Selection, Team 254 selected Teams 973: The Greybots, 999: The MechaRams, and 4499: The Highlanders. The alliance was hoping to strike a powerful balance between stacking from both the landfill and human player stations and using fast can grabbers to ensure we would always be able to put up as many stacks as possible.

However, despite all of the alliance's efforts, they were sadly eliminated in the quarterfinals. In their first match, buggy autonomous modes meant 254 was unable to get the 20pt tote stack. Then, after playing a nearly perfect match after that, Team 973 accidentally set down their last second stack on a noodle, causing that stack to fall over and domino another stack. Despite the terrible score, the alliance hoped that they could score at least 215 points in their second match to keep themselves qualified for the semi-finals. Once again, however, 973 ran into 254 during auto, disrupting it and scattering the yellow totes in the way of the cans on the field. Then, after auto, Team 999 tipped over onto the landfill, blocking many of the totes 973 needed to make their stacks. It was an unfortunate series of events and bad luck and the whole alliance was bummed to have been knocked out so early.

However, the boys didn't stay upset for long, we quickly ran around and helped our friends (1114, 971, 1678) competing in other divisions. We loaned batteries to 1114, and cheered on our friends on 1678 as they went on to win the entire World Championship.

Receiving the Industrial Design Award for the Carson-Galileo divisons

Alliance selection with Teams 973 and 999

Lead Mentor, Drive Coach, and WFFA recipient Travis Covington discussing strategy with the driver

The team cheered on our friends on 1678, 118, and 1671 as they battled for the World Championship title.

Relaxing in St. Louis!

On Sunday, students got to choose to either wake up at 10am and go to the City Museum or sleep in and meet up with the others at the Arch at 1pm. It was a lot of fun and really relaxing to hang out and take photos under the Arch for an hour before heading to the airport.

Overall, FRC Worlds this year was one of the best in a long time. All the students had a ton of fun and no one was really bummed for that long. We're excited to return and hoping to do better next year!

The whole team got to relax and visit the Arch on Sunday.

2015 VEX World Championships and “Nothing But Net”

This past week, Team 254A and 254D traveled to Louisville, Kentucky, to compete at the 2015 VEX World Championships. 254A competed in the Science Division, while 254D competed in the Technology Division. Our teams faced off against top teams from places like New Zealand, Texas, China, England, Mexico, and Bahrain. 254A experienced numerous setbacks at the tournament on their scissorlift, such as spilling ketchup onto their Cortex and numerous stripped gears and bent axles. 254A worked around the clock to repair the robot, but unfortunately were unable to fix the robot in time for eliminations. 254D did reasonably well, placing 30th in their division, but also unfortunately did not reach eliminations. On a happier note, the new VEX game "Nothing But Net" has gotten our team members talking about potential designs to shoot balls into a net, such as flywheels and catapults. Unlike previous years, for the majority of the match bots cannot lift above 18 inches, eliminating the lifts that have been dominant in earlier games.

Louisville was also quite a surprise for our teams. The food in Louisville was a lot better than Anaheim, where the majority of previous World Championships have been held. Our team especially enjoyed the Moelicious BBQ food truck and the hot and fresh minidonuts served at the event. Cracker Barrel was also well-liked by students. We also went go-karting in Indianapolis and relaxed at Dockweiler Beach in LA.

2015 Silicon Valley Regional

This weekend the team participated in the Silicon Valley Regional (SVR). It was held at San Jose State University in the Event Center. There were teams from Hawaii and even as far as China. Overall we did quite well in the competition. As detailed in the previous blog post, our very committed lead mentor Travis Covington won the Woodie Flowers Finalist Award.

Travis Wins the Woodie Flowers Finalist Award

Travis wins the Woodie Flowers Finalist Award

Despite issues with the batteries involving low voltage that are still unresolved, the robot performed extremely well. We ranked number one in the qualification rounds, even scoring exactly 254 points one round. We were in an alliance with team 1678 the Citrus Circuits and team 5027 Event Horizon for all of the elimination rounds. Together with our alliance partners we were able to become the Regional Winners, an honor for which each member of our team received a medal and the whole team received a blue banner. The first round of the quarter finals did not go too well for us because the ramp became misaligned, a stack of totes fell out of our robot and an alliance partner knocked over a stack of totes; however we recovered the next round and ranked as number one in both the quarterfinals and the semifinals and won the finals 2-0, scoring exactly 254 points again in the very final match of the competition! For our robustness in concept and fabrication we were conferred with the Quality Award.

The results of the final rounds

The results of the final rounds

The scoreboard when we scored 254 points the first time

The scoreboard when we scored 254 points the first time

Excitement after we score exactly 254 points

Excitement after we score exactly 254 points

Everybody at the end of the tournament

Everybody at the end of the tournament

It was a great event, and there were many strong robots, but there are a couple teams in particular who deserve recognition for their especially strong performance. Team 1678, the Citrus Circuits from Davis California, who eventually became our alliance partners, had a very effective robot and also won the Gracious Professionalism Award for exemplifying the core values of FIRST. Team 971, Spartan Robotics from Mountain View had a unique but very effective design. They were finalists and received the Excellence in Engineering Award.

The Silicon Valley Regional was a very well run event, which was for the most part on time, and often even ahead of schedule. Despite the annoyance of not being allowed to bring any food or drink into the event center, it was overall a very positive experience. We should all be proud of the accomplishments of both our team and the entire FRC community.