2016-2017 Email Blast #1

Louisiana FIRST Tech Challenge Coaches,

Topics in this message:

1. Team Registration
2. Team Grants
3. Kickoff Event
4. Advancement for 2016/17
5. Scrimmages – help wanted
6. Dean’s List and Optional Awards
7. Modern Robotics Firmware Updates


  1. Team Registration:

New this year, Team Registration has moved to the FIRST website (www.my.firstinspires.org/Dashboard/). The FTC blog has a post – Team Registration: New and Improved – that also includes video walkthroughs of the system.  If you have additional questions, please ask.

Right now, I see that 9 teams have completed registration in LA, and I think another 12 are on their way.  Our goal is to hit 25-30 teams (!).


  1. Team Grants:

I have a couple of notes on the Grants page.

  • If you know of any potential Louisiana rookie teams (i.e., that have not completed registration), especially FIRST LEGO League teams that have aged out of FLL, please refer them to that page to apply for a Rookie Kickoff grant.
  • If your team is in the CLECO service area, we have a small number of grants (first come, first served) to cover the Qualifier registration fee for teams in CLECO areas.  See the website for info.

  1. Kickoff Event:

We’ve arranged for Hammond High Magnet School to host our FTC Louisiana Kickoff the morning of September 10, starting at 9:00 AM.

Besides a chance to meet other teams, discuss the game, and see the field set, we hope to have some time for Q&A/panel discussions/workshops about Awards, Engineering Notebooks, and Programming, led by experienced teams and mentors.

We will update details soon, but please reserve at least the morning 9:00-12:00 for introductions, presentation of 2016-17 plans, kickoff and game discussion, and workshops.  If your team is interested in leading a discussion or presenting, let us know.  We’ll post updates to the Kickoff page.

Here’s the address:

Hammond High Magnet School
45168 River Road
Hammond, LA 70401


  1. Advancement for 2016/17:

Thanks to the coaches who responded to the survey, representing 11 schools with something like 15 teams.  On the question of the advancement structure, the group was evenly split between leagues and qualifiers.  Based on discussions with FIRST staff, other FTC Affiliate Partners, and our own planning committee, together with the need to allow for new teams in north Louisiana, we’re going to go with a Qualifier structure this year.

We will schedule two qualifiers in December/January/February to advance teams to the Regional Championship.  Advancement numbers will depend on registrations, but we are planning for two 16-team Qualifiers to each advance 10 teams to the Regional Championship.

Tournament fees for the Qualifier will be $200 and for the Regional Championship $250.  We hope to identify some corporate sponsorship to reduce these fees in future years.


  1. Scrimmages:

Because many of our teams liked the League Meet structure, we want to work together to provide similar opportunities for regular competition with a schedule of scrimmages in the former League areas.  Teams that expressed interest in hosting meets are likely willing to host scrimmages.  FTC-LA will purchase two game sets for the Qualifiers and LA Championship, so they will be available to scrimmage hosts.

It would help to have scrimmage coordinators in the NO and BR areas.  Please consider volunteering – just email us.


  1. Dean’s List and Optional Awards:

From the survey, we look forward to seeing some Dean’s List Semi-finalists nominated by their teams.  If you haven’t considered nominating a sophomore or junior from your team for the Dean’s List Award, please read the description of the award and the advancement process in Section 8.0 of the Game Manual.

There are two optional team awards.  It sounds like we have teams interested in submitting for the Promote Award (Section 7.5.8 of the Manual), so we will plan to take submissions and judge that award this year.  There was no interest indicated in the Compass Award, so we will not plan on having that this year.


  1. Modern Robotics Firmware Updates

Modern Robotics is offering firmware updates for most of the control system components.  You have to send your parts back to MR to have them update them (subsequent updates won’t require that).  They’re running about two weeks not including shipping to do this, so there’s still time to beat the schools in other parts of the country and get your parts back not long after kickoff.  You can pool your parts with other teams to reduce the cost – per-unit and shipping.

They have info posted here.