VEX Robotics Blog

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.

VEX State, Day 1

Today was the first day of VEX State Championships, though no actual competition took place. Instead, today was a day for practicing alongside other teams and debugging any residual robot problems. We started the day by registering our teams and getting the robots inspected, thus saving us time tomorrow. Once that was done teams prcoeeded to test their robots on the 2 tournament practice fields, identifying and eliminating bugs along the way. We did this all afternoon (2:00 to 7:00), and it was certainly one of the most productive days we’ve had. Everybody has ironed out the kinks in their designs and we are looking forward to competing tomorrow.

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.

Bellarmine VEX Results

Today's Bellarmine VEX tournament was one of the best-run ones in years, and to top it off two of our VEX teams won the tournament.


This was the only tournament this season in which all 7 254 teams were competing, and all of them did extremely well. 254C had an impressive undefeated (6-0-0) record in qualification matches and therefore seeded 1st. After them was 254D in the 6th seed, and rounding out the top 8 was 254F in the 8th seed.

Other 254 teams were scattered throughout the rankings, but that didn't matter because during alliance selections, all 7 teams either got to pick or were picked. As 1st seed, 254C got the first pick and chose 5369, the Fire Breathing Rubber Duckies from Challenger (which Abhi Kumar's little brother is on) as their 1st partner. Their 2nd alliance partner was our very own 254A.

Meanwhile, 254D was picked by the 5th seeded team, and 254F also got to pick a partner. This pushed 254B into a picking position, and they picked another 254 team, 254E, as their 1st partner and 254G as their second partner. Unfortunately, F and D had to face off in quarterfinals. F came out on top, so all teams except D got into semifinals.

In semifinals, the C/A alliance beat their opponents and moved forward, while the B/E/G alliance and F alliance were eliminated. C and A got to go to finals, squaring off against Oakland's 8000A and 8000B, who were allied with 6A. Things looked bleak when overheated VEXnet keys caused 5369 to lose connection in the first match, causing a loss. However, 254A pulled off an incredible comeback in the second match, descoring every point in our opponent's trough and leaving them only with floor tile goals, giving us the victory. 254C and 5369 then came together once more to beat the two 8000's in the third match, winning us the tournament.

It was an incredibly nail-biting finals round, and all members of the team, not just those on C and A, were extremely excited that 254 had taken back the Bellarmine title after losing it last year. All in all, it was an incredible weekend and an incredible comeback, and all of us are proud of our VEX teams.

San Ramon VEX Results

This Saturday, we had our first VEX tournament of the season at San Ramon. 6 of our teams (A-F) were present at the competition. Amazingly, all 6 of these teams got into elimination rounds. 3 of them were eliminated in quarterfinals, while the other 3 were eliminated in semifinals. So, while we did not win, we are proud of having gotten so many teams into elimination matches. Furthermore, the day provided several highlights. For instance, one qualification match saw 254F and 254E in the same alliance, and together they racked up an incredible score of 210 points. The video of this match is here:


Also, shortly thereafter, this happened:


That’s 2 of our teams, E and F, back to back on the top of the tournament ladder. Unfortunately, they later fell in the rankings but it was great while it lasted.

All 6 teams worked very hard at this tournament and did very well, if you weren’t there then please do congratulate them this week. We will now be looking forward to our next tournament, Bellarmine, which we are definitely aiming to win!

New Season Update

Already seven weeks into the start of the new school year, we have had many events, including workshops and team meetings, to kick off the new robotics season.


Our first mandatory meeting for the team was at the Introduction meeting, where all incoming freshmen, new members, and existing members were formally introduced to the leaders of Team 254 and students became familiar with the expectations for this new season. There was an outstanding attendance as over 130 interested participants registered for the team afterwards. We also held a parent meeting where we presented new information to parents and answered questions.

In the following week, we officially began the VEX season with our VEX Kickoff, where we┬áintroduced this year’s new game “Sack Attack” for those who have not seen it yet or were interested in participating in VEX this year. Jonathan Chang led the meeting and explained the design process each team must follow, along with safety regulations for Bellarmine’s new lab. New VEX teams were released and captains then led each sub-team to discuss game strategy and begin their brainstorming process.

Finally past the busy start of a new season, we smoothly transitioned into the Zero Robotics Kickoff led by Richard Lin, different workshops including Graphic design led by Kyle Schnoor and PR/Marketing led by Avery Strand, and VEX builds. Each VEX team presented their team’s robot design to the mentors, who gave their critique to each team, and teams now in the process of building each robot according to their CAD drawings. We have just begun registering teams for VEX tournaments, the first one already starting in October at San Ramon.

The mentors, leaders, and sub-captains are all looking forward to another great VEX season this year to follow up with last year’s excellent performance at the World Championships. As a reminder, you should still check the calendar often for meetings and lookout for upcoming workshops that interest you.

VEX Tournament Meeting

With the VEX season set to start Thursday, we can now begin to plan for the Bellarmine VEX Tournament in November. The first parent and volunteer meeting will occur within the next few weeks. The number of volunteers we get from this first meeting will determine how smoothly the ride will be all the way into November.


VEX Prototyping Session

This past Wednesday several of our VEX leaders, both captains and sub-captains, met in the old VEX lab for a prototyping session. The session was extremely productive; the VEX leaders each tried different approaches to intaking game objects, trying different construction methods to see what worked and what did not. The assigned captain/sub-captain pairs worked together to give each other inspiration and correct each others’ mistakes. While doing this, they took careful notes of what they tested, giving them something to work with when build starts as well as creating a foundation for the Design Notebooks which are so important for awards.

Upcoming Intro Meetings

There are two upcoming meetings introducing 254 robotics to potential recruits on the following days:

  • Wednesday August 22nd
  • Thursday August 23rd

At these meetings we will showcase our 2011-2012 basketball shooting robot Skyfire as well as give important information about the team.