FIRST White Mountain Qualifier: November 10, 2018

Our good friends from fellow FTC team #8995 The Jaegers from Heber-Overgaard, AZ hosted a qualifier at Mogollon High School on November 10th, 2018. We attended this qualifier as our first FTC tournament this season, and we drove up to Heber on November 9th, ready to officially kick off and Rover Ruckus.

The first competition in the new season for our team was a rollercoaster ride for a lack of better terms. Our builders stayed up late Thursday night to finish the robot and continued working on it throughout the competition. Nonetheless, there were various unfortunate issues during the matches. Our robot had problems with the program, could not place our team marker in the depot, and was unable to land from the lander at the beginning of autonomous. In one of the matches, our robot actually flew across the field into the crater and landed on its side as soon as the match began. The entire audience gasped in shock and was even more surprised when our alliance actually won the match. During alliance choosing, there was controversy over sudden ranking changes and many teams were unaware of this. Due to this, the competition coordinators asked the audience if they should redo the alliance picks. Of course, the audience gave the graciously professional answer: Yes. We were graciously chosen by Die Krieger to join their alliance for the semi-finals. Together we competed to the best of our ability but lost in the end. Even though our robot was having difficulties, our team shined in other ways. Our pit was decorated with our display board, sponsor poster, promobot tri-fold, a monitor showing pictures of our Outreach activities, and treats from different countries across the world for other teams (and our own) to enjoy. Our team members danced during the break and interacted with every team at the competition whenever we had the chance. We built a great connection specifically with the Marvels, a new FTC team created through an Islamic Community Center in New Mexico. After the finals, the award ceremony began and it was a great success for us. We won 3rd place in Motivate, 2nd in Connect, and 1st Place in Design. But best of all, we won 2nd place Inspire and qualified for the State Championship. We couldn’t be more grateful. Overall, the competitive environment between other teams was positive and gracious professionalism was integral. The only issue I would present was the obvious tension between our own coaches and team members and the tension within the team in general during the competition. However, we discussed this after returning from Heber and I believe it was a lesson for us to grow from as a team for next time. With a combination of our excellent outreach program, the dedication of our builders, and our pit display, we were able to show the judges and the other FIRST members the truth of our motto “12241 STEM is for everyone!”

Be sure to stay posted on our YouTube Channel for a video of our adventures in Heber! Link below!

Written by Jinia Meherin
Edited by Baya Laimeche

White Mountain Qualifier: Here We Come


This season started with an additional time crunch. The Jaegers hosted the first FIRST Tech Challenge qualifier competition in Arizona this year, in Heber-Overgaard in the White Mountains. It was one week earlier than the first qualifier last year, and it was our first competition this year.

With our usual procrastination, we barely finished the robot late on Thursday night, the day before the competition. We packed up the rest of our gear and loaded it into cars on Friday. The Robot left first and arrived 3 hours ahead of the rest of the team at the competitions site – not by self-driving there I must admit. After the rest of the team arrived, we  set up our pit area with our traditional display and a new addition – the Panther. The pit closed at 8:30 pm and we took the robot with us to the hotel so that we could keep working on it until the early morning hours.

On Saturday morning, we were greeted by an invigorating 23F (or -5C). Thanks to the hotel manager for setting up an early breakfast; the pits opened at 7am and breakfast usually starts at the same time. We needed to finish the robot. Our focus this year included the judging sessions as well as the judge’s interviews during the day. We spent extra time on Friday to polish the notebook by adding 3D design printouts. They looked really nice. We enhanced our pit area with  international candy and cookies from our home countries to share, and added cute little carved aliens that matched our alien giveaways to other teams.  The outreach team went above and beyond to explain the robot and our international teams’ origin.

This competition was the first in the nation to use the new live scoring system. It had a rocky start, just like some of the robots including our own. In theory we can release the robot and lift it up at the end. We tested these features before we left and they seemed to work, but when we tried it on Saturday morning it wasn’t reliable (and the gears made some nasty noises) so we abandoned this feature for the entire competition.

Our first game of the qualification round was with Beep Patrol who scored most of the points while we contributed some 20 – 30 points by playing soccer with the board elements and scored the end game points by entering the crater. Thank you, Beep Patrol.

Out robot was the only one that actually achieved lift-off, and became airborne as it entered the crater. Unfortunately, the robot landed on its side and was unable to move any further, but  we were fully inside the crater and scored an additional 25 points in the end game – sweet.

We were chosen by the 4th alliance captain, Die Krieger (literally: The Warriors) from New Mexico, as their partner for the semi finals but our alliance did not advance to the finals.

At the award ceremony, we receive four awards:

  • Prestigious INSPIRE Award: second place
  • Design Award: first place
  • Connect Award: second place
  • Motivate Award: third place

The INSPIRE Award qualified us for the state competition in Flagstaff which will be held on February the 22nd/23rd 2019

Thank you to all of the teams participating for making this a great event. We really appreciate and are thankful for the efforts of the Jaegers and all other teams and volunteers in Arizona for hosting the regional and state competitions.

One Small Step for Man, One Giant Leap for Robot-kind

We were finally able to get our beloved robot Neil Strongarm to deploy from the lander! Not only is the robot able to deploy from the lander, but he is also able to lift himself onto the lander, however while the robot is capable of doing this, the program still needs to be finished in order for Neil Strongarm to finish his 𝘍𝘐𝘙𝘚𝘛 landing.

Watch the video here:

Part 1:

Part 2: