Tournaments Blog

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.

Woodie Flowers Finalist Award

This afternoon, Lead Mentor Travis Covington received the Woodie Flowers Finalist Award at the Silicon Valley Regional!

This prestigious award is given to only one mentor at each regional for that mentor’s ability to effectively communicate with and inspire students.

After nominating Travis for this award for many years in a row the entire team was so ecstatic to see someone so deserving finally get recognized. The students and mentors were cheering as if they had just won the World Championships again!

The other mentors congratulating Travis as he wonTravis' smile was bigger than ever!

2015 Central Valley Regional

This weekend, from Thursday to Sunday, Team 254’s FRC team competed in the Central Valley Regional FRC Tournament held at Madera South High School. Our team had an extremely strong showing, seeding second place in the qualifiers and taking home first place along with Team 1678: Citrus Circuits and Team 1323: Madtown Robotics. Throughout the tournament, our robot, Deadlift, consistently pulled off the three tote autonomous and stacked up six totes with a recycling bin and litter, scoring 42 points per full stack! We were also presented the Quality Award based on our robot’s overall robustness and quality of design. Overall, this weekend was very successful for our FRC team and we would like to commend every team that participated in CVR this weekend.

Team 254 joining Team 1678 in an allianceDeadlift stacking totesCongratulations!Working hard in the pits

Tracy NorCal VEX Skyrise Tournament

On Saturday, 1/31, 254A, 254B, 254C, 254E, 254F, and 254G competed at Merrill F. West High School at the Tracy NorCal VEX Skyrise Tournament. 5 of our 6 VEX teams at Tracy reached the elimination rounds, a strong showing from the Cheesy Poofs!
254B and 254F joined 824B during the elimination rounds, and reached the semifinals. Team 254C joined 9378A and 9378B, and reached the quarterfinals. Team 254E joined 5776 and 8000D, reaching the quarterfinals.

Team 254F competing in the quarterfinals

254A, using an eight-bar side-roller robot design, reached the finals alongside 5369 (the Duckies) and 5327C (Gael Force) as part of the first-seed alliance. Unfortunately, after a long deliberation by the referees, they lost to the second seeded alliance in two matches. Congratulations to 1935A (HEART Academy San Jose), 7579B (Next Generation Science & Technology Group), and 8000B (Head-Royce School)! In addition, Team 254C won the Sportsmanship Award!

254A joining the first seed allianceTeam 254C proudly showing their Sportsmanship Award

Our teams learned a lot at Tracy about potential designs and had a lot of fun, and are looking to make improvements to their robots for the NorCal State Championship, coming up at the beginning of March!

Team 254A undergoes inspectionA long road tripTeam 254B and 254E in a friendly match

Bellarmine VEX Tournament

The 7th Annual Bellarmine VEX Tournament, hosted by Team 254, will be held November 21-22, 2014 project management web app. The event is free for spectators. The best time to watch is from the alliance selection process (3pm Saturday), through the finals, which will finish by 6:30pm.


Changes from Last Year

  • There are more teams competing, so if you can, please get inspected on Friday evening (6 – 8pm). We’ll officially open the pits at 7am and start inspections at 7:15am on Saturday.
  • We will have a photo booth setup with a backdrop for professional looking photos of your robot and/or team. This will be located next to the skills challenge field on the 2nd floor of the Sobrato building.
  • We will have a competition Instagram: Use #BELLVEX in Instagram during the tournament and see your picture appear on displays in the Pits and in Sobrato.


Friday, November 21, 2014
6 pm – 8 pm Check-In and Inspection (in Liccardo)
7 pm – 9 pm Practice time for teams
Saturday, November 22, 2014
7:00 am Pit Area and Registration Opens (in Liccardo)
8:00 am Check-in Deadline for teams (at Pit Admin in Liccardo)
7:15 am – 8:30 am Inspection (in Liccardo)
7:30 am – 8:30 am Practice Rounds (in Sobrato Theater)
8:30 am – 8:45 am Driver’s Meeting (in Sobrato Theater)
8:30 am – 9:30 am Sign up for judging interview (at Pit Admin table)
8:45 am Welcome (in Sobrato Theater)
9:00 am – 12:30pm Qualifying Rounds (in Sobrato Theater)
12:30 pm – 1:00 pm Lunch Break (We will have Pizza Order Forms)
1:00 pm – 2:35 pm Qualifying Rounds Continue (in Sobrato Theater)
2:45 pm Alliance Selection Process (in Sobrato Theater)
3:00 pm – 5:30 pm Elimination Rounds (in Sobrato Theater)
~5:30 pm – 6:30 pm Finals, Awards, Closing Ceremony (in Sobrato Theater)

Tournament Location & Parking

Bellarmine College Preparatory 960 W. Hedding St. San Jose, CA 95126

Google Maps

Campus Map

For the competition, the pits are in Liccardo cafeteria and the competition fields in Sobrato theater. These are #6 and #7 on the campus map at: //

Street parking is very limited due to permit parking restrictions. There is additional parking by Emory and Stockton streets. Check in with the Pit Admin when you arrive, who will provide you with a map of the tournament facilities.

Northern California VRC Championship Qualifications

We are qualifying 8 teams for the Northern California VRC State Championship:

  • 3 Team Winning Alliance
  • 3 Team Finalists
  • 1 Design Award winner
  • 1 Excellence Award winner

Awards Given

  • Excellence Award
  • Design Award
  • Judges Award
  • Sportsmanship Award


We will offer pizza for preorder. Info will be sent in a different email. We will have a few pasta dinners available for Friday night and will be offering snacks and drinks on Saturday.

Information For Competitors

  • If you cannot arrive before close of check-in at 8am, please call or text (preferred): 408-377-5330 or email: [email protected].
  • If you want to be considered for the Excellence or Design awards, you will need to sign up for an interview by 9:30am. Go to the Pit Admin to schedule (or change your appointment time if needed). The interview rooms are on the second floor of the Sobrato Theater building near the swimming pool.
  • The skills challenge field is also on the 2nd floor of the Sobrato theater building. Teams are not limited to the number of attempts, however, any team with fewer than 3 attempts can move ahead of other teams waiting in line.
  • Bring your signed VEX competition waiver, available at: //
  • Check the match schedule when it is published and make sure you are ready for each match. We try hard to keep matches running on time.
  • Be sure your robot is ready for inspection. Double check the requirements here: //
  • Have fully charged batteries for each match.
  • Be sure the drivers and coach have safety glasses when they arrive at the field to compete.
  • Bring a power strip. We should have an outlet within 6′ of your table for you to plug into.
  • WiFi will be available in the pits
  • A Help Desk will be available with a limited supply of parts should anything break or you are unable to pass inspection

Information For Novices

It is highly recommended for you to arrive Friday to go through the inspection and try a couple practice matches. Friday will be much more relaxed and our inspectors will be able to help you through the inspection process. Also, our field managers will be able to guide you through the competition process. Be sure to bring fully charged batteries, chargers, spare parts and tools in case anything breaks. Ensure your VEXnet keys are working well.

Vex logo

DVHS VEX Tournament 2014

Competing and Improving

The Dougherty Valley High School (DVHS) in San Ramon hosted this tournament. The team was pleased to see upon arriving that competition boards were placed in the pit area, and that the location of the pit allowed for very quick switching between matches. Unfortunately none of our sub teams managed to qualify for States, but this competition allowed our robots to be tested for the first time and we used this feedback to repair and upgrade our bots. For example Team 254F lost two matches in qualifications and two in eliminations. The members of Team 254F are now working on improving their intake and looking forward to the next VEX tournament.

DVHSTournament2014-1Team 254G with glorious sub leader Vidur communicating with his sub team

One VEXing Tournament

Thankfully there were no MAJOR technical issues (robots catching fire, exploding, becoming sentient) and all of our teams learned a lot in the competitive process. The tournament was a success! We would like to recognize teams 21D for their excellent design for the high rises, and also 6089, 5776C, 5327A, and many other teams in attendance for challenging us and helping our sub teams to improve their bots. Lastly, many thanks to DVHS for their tasty and very reasonably priced snacks; oh and also for hosting this fun and competitive tournament. And to the VEX teams at the competition, all of us are looking forward to seeing many of you at the Bellarmine VEX tournament this November!

DVHSTourament2014-2Team 254D Driver about to shake hands with some fellow VEX enthusiasts

DVHSTournament2014-3Team 254B watching their bot intently as Tom takes a sly selfie

Stay Cheesy

Chezy Champs: Behind the Scenes

Today teams from across the country gathered to compete in Team 254’s Chezy Champs Aerial Assist competition. After Friday’s hard work setting up the field and teams moving setting up their pits and robots, we’re ready to start a day of competition!

Pre competition hustle

Pre competition hustle

I love the smell of robots in the morning. Starting at 8am this morning, teams were allowed into the pits to start modifying and preparing their robots, and teams entered the Bellarmine gymnasium to stake out spots in the bleachers. And about half an hour later Shockwave was released and tested in the field.

Shockwave showing off for the crowd

Shockwave showing off for the crowd

At 9:30 the opening ceremonies began, introducing our emcee and game announcer, Karthik Kanagasabapathy and Paul Copioli.

Pre game pump up

Pre game pump up

After all teams had staked out seats in the bleachers and the competing robots were in their ready position, at 10am the first match started!

First match autonomous mode begins

First match autonomous mode begins

After match 3 Shockwave decided to come out onto the field to compete with Karthick



After the first match I decided to take a walk around the facilities. Right behind the arena was the CC swag shop, where t-shirts, sunglasses and other swag were sold.

Two 254 moms manning the swag stand

Two 254 moms manning the swag stand

I became aware that other items such as snap backs, volunteer shirts, and even life sized EJ faces (for the true EJ fans) were available through preorder.

Team 254 member showing his pride with a life-sized EJ face

Team 254 member, Michael Ramstad, showing his pride with a life-sized EJ face

Next to the swag shop were the official Chezy Champs trophies, including the widely coveted golden corn dog for display of GP throughout the tournament.

The glorious golden corn dog and other trophies

The glorious golden corn dog and other trophies

Lastly I headed out to the pit area in Liccardo to check out some of the other teams. At the admin desk, manned by 254’s glorious president Andrew Torrance, I checked in as a CC volunteer and put my super safety glasses on.

Staff surrounding our glorious student leader, Andrew Torrance

Staff surrounding our glorious student leader, Andrew Torrance

The first team I encountered in the pits was the Buchanan Bird Brains, Team 1671. A few members were willing to answer my questions about the tournament and their team:

Q: Where is your team based?

A: Our team is based in Clovis, California. It’s like the little brother of Fresno.

Q: What is the name of your robot?

A: The name of our robot is “Doc 10” because Doc Buchanan is the founder of our team’s high school and 10 because it’s team 1671’s tenth year competing.

Q: What does FRC mean to you?

A: FRC is like the family you never knew you had, and once you’re in the FRC family you never want to leave.

Q: What do you think of the Bellarmine campus?

A: The architecture is beautiful, it honestly looks like a college campus.

After interviewing the Bird Brains, I decided to talk to some of the teams at the other end of the pit. After a few minutes, I found that the Team 4201 pit was open for visitors!

Me (in the blue shirt) taking notes on my interview with a member of team 4201

Me (in the blue shirt) taking notes on my interview with a member of team 4201

Q: Where is your team based?

A: Our team is based in Hawthorne, California near L.A.

Q: What is the name of your robot?

A: The name if our robot is #straightflexin. The # is part of the name, too! And it can’t be spelled out.

Q: What does FRC mean to you?

A: Since our school doesn’t really have any sports teams, this is our school sport. Like I used to play hockey but there was no hockey team. And, FRC is like the engineering version of a varsity sport. So for me it became a substitute for playing on a team in high school. Really it’s just the best thing ever.

Q: What do you think of the campus?

A: The campus is awesome, we really love your copper pipes. The water is so clean!

Next interview was with Team 696, the Circuit Breakers:

Q: Where is your team based?

A: Our team is based in La Crescenta in L.A. county, a little bit north of L.A.

Q: What is the name of your robot?

A: The name of our robot is Snapdragon. We actually have two robots, the one we use to compete is named Snapdragon and the practice bot we call “Snapdragon upside-down.”

Q: What does FRC mean to you?

A: FRC is one big family, once you’re in it helps you to stay connected with people who share your interests.

Q: What do you think of the Bellarmine campus?

Oh this is a high school? I seriously thought we were at a college. Wow, it’s really big.

After interviewing Team 399 I decided to visit the local food trucks for lunch. Outside we had the food trucks “sticks” and “scoops,” and inside food vendors sold everything from muffins to pizza.

Jared must be so proud

Jared must be so proud

After a short food break/nap in the field, I went back to the arena to make sure everything was ok. Everything was going very smoothly, and all the teams seemed to be enjoying themselves. None of our equipment was blowing up, there were no electrical fires, and none of the gaming servers crashed. I’d say that’s a success!

I had a lot of fun meeting and talking to all the different teams, and hope that the guest teams had just as much fun competing in and watching the matches as we did. Thank you to all the teams who showed up, and those who supported us by watching the event live on Twitch.

Go Poofs!

International Vex Summer Games

On July 11th and 12th, members of VEX Team 254D traveled to Hawaii for the new Hawaii International Games tournament. The tournament featured two competitions, one for the old game, Toss Up and one for the new game, Skyrise. The Cheesy Poofs were fortunately able to secure spots in both competitions, entering the robots Scorpion and Qilin. Although the Cheesy Poofs did not fare so well during the qualifications due to various issues in both divisions, top teams recognized the strength of the Poofs. In the Toss Up competition, 254D was selected by the 2nd seeded alliance while in the Skyrise competition, partnering with 359A, the Hawaiian Kids, and 1973A, the Trojanbots. The alliance lost in the quarterfinals to the eventual tournament victor. In the Skyrise Division, 254D was selected by the 5th overall seed, joining 368A, Team Kika Mana, and 1841A, Buff n’ Blue 1, again losing during the quarterfinals. Despite the team’s failure to proceed through the quarterfinals, the Cheesy Poofs gained valuable experience and knowledge in designs and strategies for the new Skyrise game that will carry over to the new season.

Late Night Repairs on ScorpionAfter-Tournament Fun at Hanauma Bay

IRI 2014 Offseason Regional

IRI Competition

Everyone had a great time at IRI, reconnecting with old friends like 233, 1114, and 2056, meeting new people on different teams, and eating a lot of delicious corn! We went undefeated in our qualifying matches and seeded first, partially due to our powerhouse human player Brandon Wui with his “Jordan” throws into the robot. After choosing our alliance partners Team 1114: Simbotics, 330: The Beachbots, and 2013: Cybergnomes, we moved up the bracket all the way to the Finals, and after 2 very intense matches, we got second place! We were all very happy with our performance and very happy to have been able to attend IRI this year.

Pranks made the event loads of fun, including getting Barrage an awesome claw!A shot of the stadium and fieldAlliance selection with Team 1114Friday night fun included an awesome laser show featuring 254's logo rearranging itself from

Fun in Chicago!

However, our adventures didn’t stop with IRI. After the very early first flight to Chicago, our connecting flight got cancelled. At first it looked like we’d be spending 12 hours wandering around Chicago airport, but the mentors decided to make it an adventuring day through the city of Chicago! We took the famous L train into downtown and had some fantastic Chicago style deep dish pizza at the world-famous Giordano’s Pizza. Next stop was the Bean in downtown Chicago, then finally we found a nice shady patch of grass in which both mentors and students took very needed naps, and some ended up with a little grass on their foreheads. Finally we made it back to the airport and on our plane home. Thank you to all of the teams and staff at IRI for making such a great competition and we hope to be able to go next year!

The team got deep-dish pizza at the world-famous Giordano's Pizzeria!The team also visited Cory needed a much needed nap in Chicago, but things got a bit grassy!

2014 World Champions!

{“data”:[{“type”:”heading”,”data”:{“text”:”Overview”}},{“type”:”text”,”data”:{“text”:”Team 254 just returned from the 2014 FRC World Championship held in St. Louis. The team went undefeated in the qualification rounds of the Curie Division and paired with teams 469, 2848, and 74 for elimination matches. After a hard fight through the elimination rounds, the team was crowned the champions of the 2014 FRC season after winning the Einstein finals.\n”}},{“type”:”heading”,”data”:{“text”:”Great Food!”}},{“type”:”text”,”data”:{“text”:”The team had some awesome meals while in St. Louis. On Wednesday night the team had BBQ from Pappy’s Smokehouse, on Thursday 254 ate with Team 1114: Simbotics, and on Friday and Saturday the team enjoyed local St. Louis eateries. \n”}},{“type”:”image”,”data”:{“file”:{“url”:”//×300.jpeg”,”full”:”//”},”text”:”BBQ from Pappy’s Smokehouse was a team favorite”}},{“type”:”heading”,”data”:{“text”:”Great Fun!”}},{“type”:”image”,”data”:{“file”:{“url”:”//×300.jpg”,”full”:”//”},”text”:”Team 1538: The Holy Cows pranked our pits on Friday morning with a ridiculous poster of Holy EJ.”}},{“type”:”image”,”data”:{“file”:{“url”:”//×300.jpg”,”full”:”//”},”text”:”EJ also greeted all of FIRST Friday morning.”}},{“type”:”image”,”data”:{“file”:{“url”:”//×225.jpg”,”full”:”//”},”text”:”On Friday morning Teams 254, 1538, and 16 played against Teams 111, 67, and 103 in a Hall of Fame match that the Weather Channel recorded to promote the FIRST Championship. Team 254’s alliance won with a score of 616 to 441 in this 4 minute long match.”}},{“type”:”heading”,”data”:{“text”:”Curie Qualification Matches\n”}},{“type”:”text”,”data”:{“text”:”On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday morning, 254 competed in the Curie division qualification matches \\(the other divisions being Archimedes, Galileo, and Newton\\) and held a match record of 10\\-0, seeding first among the 100 teams in the Curie division, 400 in the Championship, and about 3000 current FRC teams in the world.\n”}},{“type”:”image”,”data”:{“file”:{“url”:”//×266.jpg”,”full”:”//”},”text”:”The drive team consisted of Operator Christopher Sides, Driver Christian Jimenez, Human Player Brandon Wui (not pictured), and Coach Travis Covington. “}},{“type”:”heading”,”data”:{“text”:”Alliance Selection\n”}},{“type”:”text”,”data”:{“text”:”After a night of intense strategy talks on Friday, 254 made its alliance selections on Saturday after the last qualification matches. For its first pick, 254 chose Team 469: Las Guerrillas from Michigan. The team was excited to get to work with such a strong, compatible, and versatile alliance partner, who could play hard defense and strong midfield during the tele\\-operated period. In addition, it successfully played the role of autonomous goalie, a rarity in the competition field. 254’s alliance strategy talks the previous night had operated on the goal of creating an alliance for winning Einstein, the \”Final Four\” competition among the division champions, as opposed to winning just the division. As a result, teams were ranked and chosen by virtue of their versatility, since the winning Einstein alliance generally proved the most unpredictable. 254’s second pick was Team 2848: The All\\-Sparks, from a fellow Jesuit school in Texas, for inbounding and defense on powerful opponent finishers. Finally, 254 chose its fourth and backup alliance member, Team 74: Team Chaos from Michigan, to be switched out with 2848 for defense and inbounding.\n”}},{“type”:”image”,”data”:{“file”:{“url”:”//×266.jpg”,”full”:”//”},”text”:”254 and the rest of the number one alliance after the Curie division alliance selections”}},{“type”:”heading”,”data”:{“text”:”Curie Elimination Matches\n”}},{“type”:”text”,”data”:{“text”:”In the Curie division elimination matches, 254 faced stiff competition and was said to have had the most difficult elimination bracket. The alliance had a tough quarterfinal match against a surprisingly powerful offensive 8th alliance, comprised of Teams 624, 987, and 3476, who had already played a nearly unstoppable strategy together in Qualification Match 26, which saw a score of 320 \\- matching 254’s high score. 254’s alliance won the quarterfinals in two matches and faced an even tougher semifinal round against a defensive alliance of Teams 118 \\(another NASA House Team\\), 359, and 4334, and lost a very close and hotly contested first match. 254 eked out victory in the next two matches and advanced to division finals. 254 won in two matches and became division champions for the first time since its 2011 World Championship victory. The team also won its first ever Innovation in Control Award for its creation and open sourcing of Cheesy Vision, the hot goal detection system used during autonomous by an estimated 50% of teams at the Championship.\n”}},{“type”:”image”,”data”:{“file”:{“url”:”//×266.jpg”,”full”:”//”},”text”:”254 used the 3 ball autonomous during Eliminations and had 469 use their goalie pole.”}},{“type”:”heading”,”data”:{“text”:”Einstein Eliminations and Finals\n”}},{“type”:”text”,”data”:{“text”:”Having won the Curie division, the alliance went on to the Einstein field. The scouting and strategy team particularly feared the Newton division champions Team 1114: Simbotics \\(254’s rival in blue banners, friends from the Waterloo regional, 2008 World Champions, and the 2012 Championship Chairman’s winner\\), Team 1678: The Citrus Circuits \\(the finalist team from 254’s home event, the Silicon Valley Regional and with back to back Einstein appearances\\), Team 1640: Sab\\-BOT\\-age \\(division champions from previous years\\), and Team 5136: The Mechapirates \\(one of our favorite rookie teams from the Central Valley Regional\\).\n\n254 first faced the Archimedes Champions 1477, 2590, and 1625 in the Einstein semifinals and won in two exciting matches, scoring 320\\-235 and 261\\-245. The Curie alliance went on to face the formidable Newton alliance in the finals. Undaunted by the supposed \”Curie Curse,\” the fact that the Curie Division winners have never won the World Championships, the Curie alliance won its first match 361\\-236, celebrating madly as 254’s 3\\-ball hot goal autonomous scoring bypassed 1114’s attempts to block it by driving a rarely seen autonomous path that drove 254 out to the wall to shoot over the low goal to prevent goalie interference. In the second autonomous match, 1114 pushed Barrage, and 254 hit only one of three autonomous balls. The match was lost from the outset and was scored 240\\-153 for the Newton alliance. The crowd immediately attributed this sudden unlucky loss to the Curie curse, and the various song\\-and\\-dance numbers thrown in by FIRST did little to raise the spirits of the shocked supporters of the Curie Champions. In an intense third and final match, 254’s autonomous was successful thanks to 469’s foregoing the use of its goalie pole and instead blocking 1114’s movement. Some observers compared the Einstein finals autonomous battle to that of two chess grandmasters. In teleoperated mode, the two alliances went back and forth, but the Curie alliance’s incredible defense on the opposing finisher 1114 picked up momentum and resulted in a close 280\\-250 victory when 254 scored a last\\-second shot under heavy defense. The crowd exploded in cheers as 254 became World Champions for the second time in four years and simultaneously broke the Curie curse. Cheers included \”Curse goes Poof\” and the ever\\-popular \”Yeah buddy!\”\n”}},{“type”:”image”,”data”:{“file”:{“url”:”//×266.jpg”,”full”:”//”},”text”:”254 used the infamous 3 ball autonomous even against 1114’s goalie pole”}},{“type”:”image”,”data”:{“file”:{“url”:”//×266.jpg”,”full”:”//”},”text”:”The Team’s excitement after the final match”}},{“type”:”image”,”data”:{“file”:{“url”:”//×300.jpg”,”full”:”//”},”text”:”EJ’s roar after winning was heard throughout the stadium”}},{“type”:”image”,”data”:{“file”:{“url”:”//×300.jpg”,”full”:”//”},”text”:”Travis’ selfie with the team”}},{“type”:”image”,”data”:{“file”:{“url”:”//×266.jpg”,”full”:”//”},”text”:”The Team on the field after the awards ceremony”}},{“type”:”heading”,”data”:{“text”:”Thank you!”}},{“type”:”text”,”data”:{“text”:”Team 254 would like to congratulate its alliance partners 469, 2848, and 74 for their invaluable contributions to the Championship victory and Teams 1114, 1678, and 1640 for the most intense matches that 254 had ever played. 254 also welcomes Team 27: RUSH into the Hall of Fame.\n”}}]}

2014 Silicon Valley Regional

Drive Team in Eliminations

Team 254 rounded out its regional play this past weekend with its annual attendance at the Silicon Valley Regional FIRST Robotics Competition.

The team won 10 of its 11 matches in the qualification round, losing match 47 against the top-seeded team, 971, who had gone and continues to go undefeated in all of regional matches this year. At the end of qualifications 254 was seeded 3rd behind 971 Spartan Robotics and 1678 Citrus Circuits, with the highest accumulated score in Teleoperated Mode. 971 chose 254 as its first alliance partner and the two teams chose 1662, Raptor Force Engineering, as the third.

This alliance went undefeated in eliminations, setting the tournament high score of 325 in its second quarterfinal match and winning its quarterfinal matches by margins of 100 to 200 points. It semifinal and final rounds were closer and more exciting, narrowly edging out the finalists 1678, 368 Kika Mana, and 4171 Bay Bots by 40 points.

In the awards ceremony, 254 won the Gracious Professionalism Award for its extensive support of other teams in the tournament and model behavior, exemplifying the ideals of FIRST competition. Specifically, 254 sent Robot FIRST Aid teams around the pit area to discuss strategy with its alliance partners and provide assistance to teams who needed it.

This Silicon Valley Regional victory marks 254’s 15th in the 16 years of its and the regional’s existence. Congratulations to alliance partners 971 and 1662, finalists 1678, 368, and 4171, and Regional Chairman’s Winner 604, Leland Robotics.

254 is now ranked #1 in the world on FRC Top 25 for its three regional victories.

Looking ahead to STL

2014 Waterloo Regional

{“data”:[{“type”:”text”,”data”:{“text”:”by Andrew Torrance ’15\n”}},{“type”:”text”,”data”:{“text”:”This past weekend, Team 254 had a great time competing at the Waterloo Regional in Ontario, Canada. We traveled all the way from San Jose, California to compete against some of the best teams in the world and made some new friends along the way. In the end, the team seeded second, picked Teams 2056 and 865 and went on to win the tournament, the Quality Award, and the Gracious Professionalism Award.\n”}},{“type”:”heading”,”data”:{“text”:”Summary of Accomplishments\n”}},{“type”:”list”,”data”:{“text”:” – Tournament Champions with Teams 2056 and 865\n – 17\\-2 Win\\-Loss record through Quals and Elims\n – Number two seed\n – Quality Award\n – Gracious Professionalism Award \n – Set the current world record score of 350 without penalties\n – 34 blue banners, more than any other team\n – Highest scores Autonomous and Assist categories over first\\-seeded team\n”}},{“type”:”heading”,”data”:{“text”:”Travel and Extra Fun\n”}},{“type”:”text”,”data”:{“text”:”The team flew from San Francisco airport to Chicago and then to Buffalo. We drove the rest of the way to Waterloo. On Thursday night we had dinner with our friends from Team 1114, the SimBots, and had the chance to meet and make new ones. After elimination matches, all the students ran outside and had a huge snowball fight with Teams 1114 and 865. Most would agree that the Canadians won. On Saturday night, all 16 students hung out in the hotel and had fun talking and bonding. On the way home, we also stopped briefly at Niagara Falls for some more great memories! \n”}},{“type”:”image”,”data”:{“file”:{“url”:”//×300.jpg”,”full”:”//”},”text”:”The snowball fight resulted in frozen hands but was a lot of fun!”}},{“type”:”image”,”data”:{“file”:{“url”:”//×224.jpg”,”full”:”//”},”text”:”It was very cold when we visited Niagara Falls”}},{“type”:”heading”,”data”:{“text”:”Qualification Matches”}},{“type”:”text”,”data”:{“text”:”The team set up the pits on Thursday and participated in practice matches, including one with powerhouse teams 1114 and 2056. On Friday we presented Chairman’s, spoke to judges, and played 10 qualification matches. Throughout the entire day, a group of mentors and students constantly ran around the pits to discuss strategy with our partners. Oftentimes we would help temporarily modify our alliance partners’ robots for a specific role in a strategic cycle we had planned. We frequently helped them fix autonomous code and intakes so they could inbound and pass the ball more easily. On Saturday the team won its remaining 3 qualification matches, allied with 2056 in one match and against them in another. Finally, we were seeded second behind Team 4039 and in front of 2056.\n”}},{“type”:”heading”,”data”:{“text”:”Alliance Selection”}},{“type”:”text”,”data”:{“text”:”During alliance selection, the first\\-seeded team, 4039, chose 1114. To counter this, we chose team 2056 and later 865 to help inbound and play defense. Other powerful alliances formed included Team Dave \\(3683\\) and 1241. Even with our small group of students and limited scouting team, the mentors and students worked hard and believed they had picked a winning alliance.\n”}},{“type”:”image”,”data”:{“file”:{“url”:”//×300.jpg”,”full”:”//”},”text”:”254, 2056, and 865 formed the second seeded alliance”}},{“type”:”heading”,”data”:{“text”:”Elimination Matches”}},{“type”:”text”,”data”:{“text”:”The elimination matches saw some of the fiercest competition. All throughout the quarter and semi finals the robot faced heavy defense and was getting some nicks and scratches, but still managed to hold up well. In the second semifinal match we managed to run the \”Go for Gold\” cycle nearly flawlessly, scoring 60 points each cycle when 2056 caught our truss throw. This match put up a new current world record of 350 points without penalties. On the other side of the bracket, Team 4039 and 1114 were defeated by the number 4 seeded alliance with Team Dave and 1241. The Simbots lost two of three matches specifically through technical fouls \\(50 points each\\) that shifted the favor to the blue alliance. In the finals against Team Dave’s alliance, we managed to edge out a victory in just 2 matches running the \”Omaha\” cycle and playing defense on Team Dave. The exciting finish was celebrated with a huge snowball fight outside with members from 1114 and 865.\n”}},{“type”:”image”,”data”:{“file”:{“url”:”//×300.jpg”,”full”:”//”},”text”:”The current world high score without penalties of 350 points.”}},{“type”:”heading”,”data”:{“text”:”A Great Finish!”}},{“type”:”text”,”data”:{“text”:”During the awards ceremony, Team 254 ecstatically received the Quality Award for their beautiful robot with a 3 ball autonomous and clean pit. We also received the Gracious Professionalism Award for helping so many teams at the tournament with everything from repairing electronics and drivetrains to fixing their code. We are so grateful to have participated in this regional and extremely thankful to all the Canadian teams, volunteers, and others, who were extremely welcoming and friendly. We had a great time making new friends and a lot of the team discussed the possibility of returning to the regional next year.\n”}},{“type”:”image”,”data”:{“file”:{“url”:”//×300.jpg”,”full”:”//”},”text”:”The judges recognized us with the Quality Award for inspiring others with our pits, displays, and robot”}}]}

2014 Central Valley Regional

by Jeremy Tanlimco ’15

At the Central Valley Regional First Robotics Competition (FRC), Team 254 earned an outstanding victory. Seeded first place out of 45 total teams and winning 10 out of 11 matches in qualifications, the Cheesy Poofs excelled on the field.

At the final tally, we had 490 total assist points (the second-highest score was 370) and 536 autonomous points (second-highest score being 468). To top it off, 254 was given the Motorola Quality Award for a well-designed and efficient machine.

As first seed after qualifications, we were given first choice in alliance partners for the elimination matches. We chose 973 from Atascadero High School, the team with whom we won the 2011 World Championships. Their robot had been inoperative and inconsistent for the majority of the qualification matches until the end, when their robot began working and performing well. As a result, they were seeded 43rd out of 45 teams in attendance, and 254’s scouting team stunned the crowd by skipping over the 41 teams seeded above them. Our second alliance partner was Team 2135 from Presentation High School, our sister school in San Jose. With them we went on to win our quarterfinal and semifinal rounds in two matches (each elimination match is scored best out of three) and prepared for our finals matches against 1671, 3970 (from Duncan Polytechnical), and 1323 (from Madera High School).

Our alliance formulated its finals strategy: the Poofs would implement our thus far highly successful 3-ball autonomous routine, and 973 would implement its defense routine in autonomous against the accurate 1323. During the driver-controlled period we would attempt as many assists as possible to edge out the other alliance by sheer number of cycles per game; such a cycle involved the Bellarmine human player throwing the ball into the Presentation robot to pass to 973’s robot, which would then launch the ball over the truss for our robot to chase down, retrieve, and score. Unfortunately, due to an unlikely combination of what our competition director called “everything that could possibly go wrong,” we lost our first finals match by a close 130 to 136. The Poofs staged a comeback by winning our next two finals matches 244-158 and 148-109 to take the Regional, setting the tournament high score of 280 on the way.

We are proud of our performance and would like to congratulate our alliance partners 973 and 2135, for their contributions to this alliance victory, and finalists 1671, 1323, and 3970 for a round well played. Furthermore, 254 would like to commend 1671 for its Regional Chairman’s Award win, the highest award in a FIRST Regional.

The Poofs look forward to the upcoming Waterloo and Silicon Valley Regional competitions.

Looking forward, aligning our sights on the next goal - Waterloo!

254A receives Excellence at Bakersfield VEX Tournament

On Saturday, December 14th, VEX Teams 254A and 254F competed at the Frontier Titan Robotics Tournament in Bakersfield, California.

Our teams had some tough matches in the qualifying rounds, and even had to go against each other. Despite that, 254A went undefeated and seeded 3rd, while 254F seeded 13th.

254F was picked by the 2nd seeded team, 563, Titan Robotics. This alliance later picked Team 1437X, Patriot Robotics.

254A picked 1437Z and then 1437Y, Patriot Robotics.

After easily getting through the quarterfinals, 254A had to face 254F in the semifinals. 254A ended up narrowly advancing to face the number 1 seeded alliance featuring teams 21D, 21, and 1837A. In the finals, robot problems plagued 254A’s alliance in the first round. Then, in the second round a field disconnect occurred that resulted in 254A, 1437Y, and 21 being disconnected and only 21D left to play the match by themselves.

During the awards ceremony, Team 254A was given the Excellence Award for their outstanding performance in Qualification Rounds, Robot Skills, Programming Skills, and presenting their Design Process. This means that either 254A or 254B (who received Excellence at the Bellarmine VEX Tournament) are eligible to receive the Excellence award at the State Championships in March.

Modesto VEX Tournament

On Dec 7th, five of Bellarmine’s VEX robotics teams competed at the Central Valley VEX Robotics Tournament.  Although our teams had a few tough matches, often competing against each other, four of the five teams made it to eliminations.  254G placed third in the ranking, and 254D placed 15th.  254G joined 21D and 254E to form the 2nd alliance and 254D joined 2367 and 2367B to form the 7th alliance.  Both faced each other in the quarterfinals, and 254G and 254E advanced to the semifinals.

In the Semifinals, 254G and 254E faced 8000A, 8000B, and 8000C.  They managed to win the first game 37-36.  Because of some connection issues they were defeated in the second match, and were unfortunately eliminated in the third match.

In the skills challenges, 254E scored 15 points in Programming skills and 57 points in Robot Skills.  254C got 10 points in Programming Skills 254D scored 56 points in Robot Skills.  Modesto3-1

Bellarmine VEX Tournament

whole team

On November 22nd and 23rd, all seven of Bellarmine’s teams competed at the Bellarmine Bay Area VEX Robotics tournament. Our teams played well during qualification and four of our teams made it to eliminations. 254A, as part of the 8th ranked alliance, faced the 1st ranked alliance in the quarterfinals and unfortunately lost. However, 254F, 254G, and 254E, as the 4th ranked alliance, decisively beat the 5th alliance in the quarterfinals and simultaneously scored 76 points, the most points in any of the matches of the event. The all-254 alliance then faced the top-seeded alliance in the semifinals, and lost the first match by only 3 points.

In the second and third matches of the semifinals, however, the all-Bellarmine alliance staged a comeback to win the next two matches against the 1st-ranked alliance, securing the semifinals and a place in the final round of eliminations. The all-254 alliance subsequently plowed through the finals, winning both matches against the 2nd-ranked alliance by margins of about 40 points each. This decisive tournament win added 254E and 254G to the list of Bellarmine teams headed to the California State Championships.

Additionally, our Bellarmine teams accounted for the top three Programming Skills scores and three of the top four Robot Skills scores. Notably, Team 254A placed first in both Skills Challenges. More importantly, 254B won the Excellence Award, the highest award given in VEX competition. The award recognizes teams for their overall excellence in their engineering process and robot design, for their performance in Skills Challenges and matches, and for outreach, teamwork, and sportsmanship. With this significant achievement 254B will also head to the California State Championship. In short, after just two tournaments, five Team 254 teams have qualified for the State Championship, of which two (A and F) have qualified through multiple tournament successes.

254B is led by Eric Van Lare and Jeffrey Kaufmann

254E is led by Louis Lin and Dorian Chan

254F is led by Nick Verducci and Nathan Rooke

254G is led by Eric Wang and Goutham Gnanasekeran

Congratulations to our teams, and we wish them luck at the State Championship in March!

Team 254F and 254A win VEX Tournament

On Saturday, October 19th, all 7 of Team 254’s VEX Teams competed at the Dougherty Valley High School Robotics Tournament in San Ramon. Subteams A through G competed well during qualification matches. One of the most memorable highlights was that in the first match of the tournament when four 254 teams ended up in the same match! Teams F and G beat Teams D and B in match that was both extremely unlikely and unfortunate to watch as it put 2 of our teams behind right from the beginning.   Because the tournament was running late, they had to cut number of qualification matches from a scheduled 7 down to only 4.  However, most of our teams still did well. Team F went undefeated and was ranked second. Teams D, A, and B finished in 19th, 20th, and 21st place, respectively.

During alliance selection Team 254F picked the Team 21, the Spur Flies and later Team 254A. Team 254G was picked by fourth ranked 8000A and later allied with Team 6088. Team 254D and 254E were picked by Team 1868X, the Space Cookies. Finally, Team 254B was chosen by Team 21C and allied with 9378A.

In the elimination matches, Team G’s alliance defeated Team B in the quarterfinals, and the alliance of Team D and E was eliminated by the number 1 ranked alliance, 9378R, 8000B, and 8000C.  In the semifinals, Team F eliminated Team G.  Team 254F and 254A went on to the finals to play against the number one ranked alliance. After 2 stressful and intense matches, Team F and Team A managed to capitalize on robot failures of the opposing alliance and secure a victory! By being the champions of the tournament, Teams F and A are now qualified for the California State Championship in March.

VEX Championship



This past weekend, five of our VEX teams attended the VEX World Championships in Anaheim, California.

Our five teams were distributed among five separate divisions and played ten matches each. Qualification matches began on Thursday afternoon, continuing through all of Friday and concluding on Saturday morning. Our teams met varied levels of success during qualification matches; the level of competition at Worlds was incredibly high. When matches concluded on Saturday, team 254D ranked highest, seeding 16th with 7 wins, 2 losses, and one tie. They were also the only team to be selected for eliminations, which happened in the afternoon. In divisional quarterfinals, 254D, with the drive team of Eli Wu, Andrew Torrance and Goutham Gnanasekaran, faced off against top-ranked Fuxing High School and former world champions, Green Egg Robotics. They managed to win an incredible upset in the first quarterfinals match, but lost the second match and in a stroke of bad luck lost the tiebreaker match when one of their alliance robots fell over early in the match. Despite this setback, we are all proud of having made it so far at World Championships.

Team 254 also excelled off the competition field. We were recognized during the tournament for the website award, which we tied with Team 1114 for 1st place in the world. In addition, our mentor Pat Fairbank, who has worked tirelessly over the year to ensure the success of our VEX program, was recognized for his efforts by winning the Mentor of the Year award, becoming one of only 2 mentors from around the world to win the award this year.

Next years’ VEX game, named Toss Up, was also revealed at World Championships on Friday evening. Many of our team members have already gotten to work planning for this new game and thinking about possible designs for next season. The 2012-2013 VEX season has officially ended, but our team members are already eagerly looking forward to making the 2013-2014 season a great one for Team 254.

Team 254 Wins State Championships

This weekend our VEX teams had an excellent showing at the inaugural California State Championships, and ended up winning the tournament.

Five of our seven VEX teams attended State Championships: A, C, D, F, and G. The teams did well throughout the morning and noon in the qualification matches, with several great highlights throughout the day. For instance, C set the tournament high score, scoring 300 points in a single match; D won a 1 v 2 match alone when their alliance partner was disqualified; and D had the unique distinction of being the only team (out of 48) to go undefeated, earning a perfect 8-0 record and seeding first. In the afternoon, alliance selections happened and 4 of the 5 teams made it into eliminations. D, being first seed, was an alliance captain and chose as its partners 5369 (Fire Breathing Rubber Duckies) and 21C (SPUR-FLYS). C and F were both picked by 6A (Cyber Phoenix), while G was picked by 5327 A and C (Gael Force).



The afternoon was filled with exciting elimination matches. The C/F alliance lost in quarterfinals, while the G and D alliances each won semifinals to face each other in a Poof-on-Poof finals match. It was an exciting finals match indeed, going into a third tiebreaker match when each alliance won one round. Eventually, the D alliance pulled off the win, giving Team 254 the State Champion title, as well as qualifying 254D for World Championships.


Finals Match 1


Finals Match 2


Finals Match 3

In addition to winning the tournament, D also won the Amaze Award for their reliable performance and outstanding programming.

We are proud of our excellent performance at State, and the success has certainly prepared us for the upcoming World Championships.

A Weekend of VEX

This past weekend Team 254's seven VEX teams were split between two tournaments, one in Modesto and one in Los Angeles. Teams 254 A, C, and F went down to the CSUN Los Angeles Regional, while Teams 254 B, D, E, and G went to the Central Valley Sack Attack Tournament in Modesto. 254F became an alliance captain at Northridge, and 254E became a captain in Modesto. Every one of our VEX teams reached the elimination rounds for a second consecutive tournament, a fact which every 254 member should be very proud of.

In Northridge, C and F played against each other in one of the division finals, with F moving on to the tournament finals:

In Modesto, 254G went on to win the tournament along with their alliance partners 5327A and 5327C! 254D also posted an outstanding score of 206 in Robot Skills, which currently puts them in a tie for 17th in the world.

Congrats to the success of all our VEX teams this weekend after putting in hundreds of hours of hard work and commitment! These were the last two tournaments planned for Team 254 to attend until the VEX World Championships in April. However, with the recent unveiling of a California State Championship Tournament in March, Team 254 will be reevaluating our future plans for the robotics team as a whole for the coming semester. Currently Teams 254 A, C, F, and G are qualified to attend the first annual California State Championships.