Monday, November 21, 2016

FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon:

We had a very nice official start to the FIRST Tech Challenge League Meet Season this past week.  Our thanks to our Volunteers and Mentors for making it happen.

 Although the points and the rankings only tell part of the story, we have posted them for you to see. I know some teams are looking forward to begin data crunching for competitive analysis scouting.  This is why I have included non-league teams on this email. Non-League teams will competing with League teams in the Super-Qualifiers.

ORTOP is posting the results in Google Sheets linked to the ORTOP website

  • There is an Overview - Top Scores from individual matches, #1 Ranked team from each League and Cumulative Rankings for each individual League.
  • There are also separate League folders with Rosters, Matches and League Rankings
  • Be sure to look at the tabs at the bottom of each sheet.
Making  Sense of Ranking Sheets
For more information about Qualifying Points and Ranking Points - Go to FTC Game Manual 1 - Pages 10 & 17. 
League Teams carry forward their best 10 of 15 matches (5 per meet)  to the League Qualifying Tournament.   The 10 best matches establishes the team's  League Ranking at the beginning of the League QT.  Best matches are those with wins, followed by those with ties, followed by losses and their corresponding ranking points. The 5 matches played at the League QT are added to the League Ranking.

It is important for League teams to participate in as many League Meets as possible to accumulate Quality Points and Ranking Points.

How do you find the Results? EASY! Go to the ORTOP webpage for FIRST Tech Challenge -   ----- In the right column is the Results link.

Our wishes for a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving Holiday!

Cathy Swider 

Friday, November 18, 2016

FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon - What you should know! 

Important Game Ruling concerning the contact with the Beacons 
There is a nationwide issue with beacon damage. There are several issues involved. FTC Oregon is working with our FTAs and League Managers to fix this issue.  Here are some insights.

  • We realize that the stability of the beacon attachment on IFI fields is less stable than on the newer  AndyMark fields. 
  • ORTOP has requested FIRST to provide an official solution to stabilization of the Beacons on IFI Fields (90% of Oregon League use IFI fields). Prior to that some League Managers have found temporary solutions to this issue to increase stability. 
  • IMPORTANT GAME RULLING: A note from the Game Design Committee (GDC): Aggressive Beacon Contact and <G15> Field Damage. Find it in the Miscellaneous Answers section of the FTC Forum
    "We are hearing reports of teams driving their robots aggressively and repeatedly making very hard contact on the Beacons and the walls adjacent to the Beacons.
     Aggressive contact that causes significant flexing of the walls or moves/dislodges a Beacon will be considered field damage and penalized according to <G15>. Teams should expect to receive warnings and may receive Major Penalties and a Yellow Card for excessive or chronic aggressive Beacon contacts."
  • Oregon FTC Referees will provide warnings to the teams about aggressive Beacon play and encourage them to come up with better engineered solutions.  
  • This ruling is the primary strategy being adopted by FIRST to avoiding damage to the beacons. 

Game Footage from FTC Minnesota QT  last week. 
Take a look at what some other teams are doing 

 FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon Event Payments may only think you've paid this.... please read

We have 62 teams that have not yet paid their for the events.  All payments were due on November 15 for everyone. Please pay if you haven't done so, or communicate to Cathy Swider why not.
 Check this list to see if we have received your ORTOP EVENT payment. 

For new coaches/mentors - There seems to be some confusion about National Registration paid to Pitsco (and ultimately to FIRST in Manchester, NH) and the Event Fee charged by Oregon Robotics Tournament and Outreach Program (ORTOP). These are two separate fees. National registration of $275 does not cover paying for anything related to the league meets or tournaments you attend. All of that money stays in New Hampshire.   ORTOP must charge their own event fee to pay expenses for those events and to support the FTC program in Oregon. There is a sliding scale for payments to accommodate team needs.
Full explanation of ORTOP Event Fee Structure.  

Non League Qualifying Tournament payments 
Online Credit Card Payments 

FIRST Tech Challenge Dean's List - detailed information 
This is a fabulous opportunity for FTC Sophomores and Juniors. Important note - for Oregon, all FIRST Tech Challenge Dean's List nominations must be submitted by December 15th. All nominations must meet all requirements and procedures. This award is primarily managed by the national FIRST organization and as the Affiliate Partner I have no authority to grant extensions. Nominations must be submitted on time and correctly. Read the guidelines carefully. Oregon will select four FTC Dean's List Finalists who will be invited for Dean's List Finalist activities at  FTC World Championship in Houston.
Congratulations to last season's national Dean's List Winner - 
Anshuman Radhakrishnan | Team 4855 | Batteries in Black | Portland, OR

Resources for your teams! 
Have you been making use of the following resources? Click on the links and see where it takes you.  - look in the right column for all the important current links.
 Programming -

 This is an awesome resource  -
Know what the volunteers know!

FTC Oregon EVENT Results Page - link on
Our FTC Oregon season is underway! Time for the scouting to begin. All event results will be posted by Monday following the events. By clicking the dates you can see the Team Roster, Matches, Rankings, Top Scores, etc. 

On the Spot Reporters - This Week in FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon    
This season you'll be seeing FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon "On the Spot" Reporters at our events. They will be filming video and doing interviews with team members, mentors and volunteers. Their work will be featured in a web broadcast  - This Week in FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon - streamed on our Oregon FTC Facebook page on November 23, Dec 7, Dec 21 & March 1.  Leaderboards, highlight reel, interviews and updates from key volunteers. We are still looking for team member -  On the Spot Reporters for Leagues - Portland, Capitol, Mid-Western, Columbia Basin. Contact our VISTA - Keala Cottrell -

FIRST Tech Challenge/ FIRST Robotics Competition Team Social
There are plenty of tickets remaining for the first annual FTC/FRC Team Social scheduled for December 9th at World of Speed in Wilsonville (not Tigard) . Information Flyer    Online Ticket Order - free tickets 

And don't forget your Safety Glasses and STIMS Roster!
And check TripCheck before you go if the weather looks iffy. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Note: Links appear in both gray and dark orange.

Dear FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon Teams:

A few items for you today.

FIRST Tech Challenge/ FIRST Robotics Competition Team Social - December 9th
December 9th, Team Social from 6-11pm.  ORTOP is hosting the 1st ever team social for Oregon FTC/FRC teams at World of Speed in Tigard, Oregon!  There is no charge for this event, however, in the spirit of Gracious Professionalism please do not print a ticket unless you intend to use it.  We are limiting this event to the first 300 participants. Information Flyer

FTC Oregon League Meet Zero went very well for our 11 Leagues and 133 teams. Our thanks to the League Managers and volunteers for staging the events.   A large majority of the teams had running robots capable of moving and scoring at least one task. Beacons were a very popular task to try. Reports have surfaced that teams were helping each other solve issues. At the MidWestern League,  team representatives offered Tips and Tricks they learned from reading the FIRST Tech Challenge FORUM.  League Meet #1 begins the week of November 14th.  Non- League teams are invited to attend League Meets to watch the action. 

HEADS UP for League Teams 
#1 - Be sure to sure every team member, mentor and guests invited into your pit have SAFETY GLASSES. Please note that regular Rx glasses are NOT safety glasses. However, regular glasses with shatterproof lenses can be adapted to safety glasses by adding side shields, like this.
#2 - At every meet and tournament, the mentor MUST present the STIMS Roster listing the mentors and team members who have electronically submitted a FIRST Consent and Release Form AND handwritten listing of team members who have submitted paper version of the Youth Registration form.  Many of you have reported issues that our team parents have experienced in signing up their child to your teams.  I hope this this help document will help mentors assist their parents through the process. 

I hope this will clear it up for you.  This is a Google Sheet with several tabs.

  • Tab #1: All FTC Oregon Team List - with national payment, ORTOP event payment information and more
  • Tab #2: League Assignments BY League
  • Tab #3: League Assignments sorted by TEAM #
  • Tab #4: NonLeague QT Assignments sorted BY EVENT
  • Tab #5: NonLeauge QT Assignments sorted by TEAM #
  • Tab #6: Non-participating teams from prior years

Great question. We finally sorted all that out this week. Here is the list of all League and Non-League Qualifying Tournaments.

LGE-QT-MidColumbia1/21/2016Hood River Valley HS15
InterLeagueLGE-QT-ColumbiaBasin A & B1/21/2017Pendleton Convention Center26
Fremont MS, Roseburg


LGE-QT-CentralOregon1/21/2017Summit HS, Bend 10
InterLeague LGE-QT-AB- Hillsboro1/21/2017Hillsboro HS24

Hood River QT - nonleague1/22/2017Hood River Valley HS22

LGE-QT-Capitol1/28/2017Sprague HS11

OSU QT - nonleague1/28/2017Kelley Engineering Ctr, OSU, Corvallis24

OSU QT - nonleague1/29/2017Kelley Engineering Ctr, OSU, Corvallis24
Madison HS, Portland


Again, great question because League Meet/League QT payments were due on October 31 with an extension to November 7.  Non-League QT payments are due November 15.  CLICK HERE to see if we have received your credit card, check or Purchase Order.

For those of you with NO in red, our records indicate no payment received as of November 8th at 11:00 am.  Please find the time to make a payments as soon as possible. This season we do have a sliding scale for event payments. If your team cannot afford to pay the higher requested amount, you can pay last year's cost and click a reason box. All reasons will be accepted.

For full explanation of this year's tournament fee policy - please click here. 

LEAGUE PAYMENT - includes League Meets and League Qualifying Tournament in one payment
Forms allow you to pay for multiple teams in one form 

NON-LEAGUE PAYMENT - payment of a non-league Qualifying Tournament 
Forms allow you to pay for multiple teams in one form 

FIRST Tech Challenge World Championship Waitlist
If you don't know about it, read about it here

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon Community: 

COACHES: If you haven't had a chance to signup for a some great team oriented workshops at the Benson BotFest, this is a reminder to do so.

We have three teams for our Scare-a-fier Scrimmage. We really need a fourth!
Does your team have a robot that moves and can attempt two tasks? Any combination of beacons, corner goal, vortex goal, lift the yoga ball... Email Cathy Swider

Note to our awesome FIRST Tech Challenge VOLUNTEERS - The training sign up is for both in-person training at the Benson BotFest and early November teleconference training. Our events are now listed in the FIRST Volunteer Registration System. Please sign up at this link to volunteer at our upcoming events. 

Benson BotFest 2016 - Saturday, October 29th 546 NE 12th Avenue Portland, OR - PARKING MAP
Links to Workshops and Sign ups for Teams and Event Volunteers

  • 9:00 am - Team Check in
  • 9:00 - close: Phone set up, configuration, and phone problem help table (SWAT Team) - available most of the day (+ panel on Setting Up Android, SDK, Java, App Inventor)
Team Member, Coach and Mentors Workshops

    • Engineering Notebook
    • App Inventor "Now that you know the Basics" Programming (ends at 2:00 pm)
    • CAD and 3-D Printing
    • Game Strategy Driving Strategy and Scouting Panel (1:30 - 2:30)
  • Video Production Workshops
    • 10:30 - 11:30 am - On the Spot Reporter - click here to learn how team members can be part of a web broadcast team for This Week in FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon
    • 12:30 - 1:30 pm  - Producing a Promote and Compass Video (no signup needed)

  • Scare-a-fier Scrimmage - an 4-Team Elimination Round Scrimmage on the Velocity Vortex Field - Great Prizes!
12:30 - 2:00 pm - Opportunity for teams to watch real matches and for referees to practice refereeing matches.

Last day to sign up for a Non-League Qualifying Tournament is Tuesday, November 1st. At this time the only remaining slots are at Hood River Valley HS on Sunday, January 22, 2017. Teams do need to also be nationally registered with FIRST. Click here to signup for an FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon event.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Dear FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon Community:

BENSON BotFest - October 29th
CLICK HERE FOR SCHEDULE AND Workshop Signup - Team Member and Event Volunteers.
We hope you have "Saved the Date" for the Benson BotFest 2016 - Saturday, October 29th, 546 NE 12th Avenue, Portland, Oregon. Check in is at 9:00 AM, Workshops start at 9:30 am, the event will end at 2:30 pm.

ORTOP thanks the Benson HS Robotics teams and their mentors John DeLacy, Jeff McBride and Liz McBride for their organizational efforts to make this 8th annual event possible.


  • I have embedded SIGN UP Links into the Benson BotFest Schedule. CLICK HERE FOR SCHEDULE AND Workshop Signup.
  • Workshops are COLOR CODED but this is only a suggestion. Pick the workshops that you think best fit your team members current needs.
  • Please SIGN UP BY FRIDAY, OCTOBER 28th at 4:00 PM so that I can print who is in what class. This is on a FIRST Come, FIRST Serve basis. If we get oversubscribed for some workshops, I'll let you know. I think we should be able to accommodate almost everyone.

We are including LEAGUE volunteer training for Referees, FTAs, Scorekeepers, Inspectors, League Managers/Volunteer Coordinators.
CLICK HERE FOR SCHEDULE AND Workshop Signup at Benson BotFest or signup for a future teleconference training.

SCARE-A-FIER SCRIMMAGE!  Rookies need to see what a match looks like and Referees need to practice.

  • We are holding an 8-team Elimination Round ONLY  SCARE-A-FIER at the Benson BotFest.
  • It's not a Qualifier, it's a SCARE-A-FIER (get it, Halloween is on Monday). 
  • I am looking for FOUR more teams who have robots that can MOVE and attempt to do TWO of the Velocity Vortex game tasks.
  • Cathy Swider is personally making the SCARE-A-FIER Trophies for the Winning and Finalist Alliances.
  •  All eight teams will get something for making the effort to have a robot move and be part of this. It'll be fun. 
  • INTERESTED? - email Cathy Swider

LUNCH AT Benson BotFest!
You can bring your own or ORDER delicious whole Pizzas made by Sparky's delivered directly to the event. The Benson Robotics Club is making this possible. Cheese, Cheese and Pepperoni, Hawaiian and a Meat/Veggie Combo ranging from $15 - $20 per pizza. 
Click here Place your pre-order by Friday, October 28th at 9:00 pm 

FIRST Tech Challenge EVENT SIGN-UP Update
I think I have hounded almost all known teams to sign-up for an event. At this time we have 199 participating teams. Yes, that is 7 more teams than last season.  Next task is to get all of you to pay for your events.
CLICK HERE for PAYMENT INFORMATION.  It says League Teams due by Oct. 31, but I'd be happy if everyone paid or got their PO's into us by November 7th.

For Non-League Teams, please have payment in by November 15th.


ORTOP Team Social for FIRST Tech Challenge and FIRST Robotics Competition
We have a date and venue secured for our first team social!
It will be FUN!!! Movies, board games, video games and karaoke

When:  December 9th
Where:  World of Speed, Wilsonville

You get to PICK the movies!
Please have each team member fill out this movie survey and I hope to have a flyer with more details for you sometime next week. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

FIRST Tech Challenge Registration and Event Status 

Dear FIRST Tech Challenge Community:
Thank you for your patience through the national registration and event sign-up process.

Many of you have contacted me wishing to know several points of information.
1. Is our team's national registration showing as paid? 

2. Did ORTOP receive our team's Event Signup form? 
3. To which event is our team assigned?  - This will be announced after the sign-ups close.
4. When are the deadlines? Monday, October 17th for League and Tuesday, November 1 for non-league  

I have answers for #1 and #2.

Please click and consult the  FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon Registration and Events Status table I prepared this morning, Monday, October 17th. The information is current as of 10:00 am.  It does not update automatically to reflect additional national registrations or event sign ups submitted after that time. I must to that task daily by manually changing the spreadsheet.

 I've represented team status as to national registration and Event Sign-up in text/colors in Column B.

  • No Color - National Registration Paid and Event Sign up received. YAY!! 
  • Bright Yellow - National Registration Paid but Event Signup has NOT been submitted
  • Peach - 2015 Team - Did not re-register for 2016 season,  Event Signup Not Submitted, has not contacted ORTOP to say team will not be participating - please do this.  
  • Goldenrod - National Registration is NOT PAID but event signup submitted 
Please consult the table and check your team numbers to see your status. 
Other Registration and Event Information

League Signups - As of 10:00 am, Monday, October 17th

League Number of teams signed up STATUS 
Beaverton League - Conestoga Park & Rec 17 CLOSED (5 teams will be assigned to Hillsboro) 
Capitol League - Sprague HS 9 Room for 3 more teams 
Central Oregon League - Bend- 3 locations 10 Room for 2 more teams 
Columbia Basin - Pendleton Conv Ctr. (2 Leagues) 26 CLOSED
Hillsboro - Hillsboro HS (2 leagues) 18 Room for 1 more team 
Mid-Columbia- Hood River HS 15 CLOSED
Mid-Western - Junction City HS 11 Room for 1 more team 
Portland - Eastside - Madison HS 8 Room for 4 more teams
Southern Oregon Coast                                  2                Room for 10 more teams 
SOAR                                                       11                 Room for 1 - 4 more teams 

 Non League Event Sign-up - Qualifying Tournaments 

  • OSU - Saturday, Jan 28 - CLOSED - some teams will be assigned to Sunday
  • OSU - Sunday, Jan 29 - OPEN 
  • Hood River, Sunday, Jan 22 - CLOSED
It appears demand for non-league QT events is stronger than last season. ORTOP is looking for a venue and Team Tournament Host  in the Greater Portland area to hold a non-league QT on January 21st. Contact Cathy if your school has a gym/cafeteria, or auditorium/cafeteria, large commons area that is available. 
OTHER NEWS: BENSON BotFest  for October 29th  - Sign up COMING SOON! 

Cathy Swider 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

OCTOBER 4, 2016 - FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon Event Registration Update 

FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon Event Signup launched last night, October 3rd at 5:00 pm. We've had only a few hiccups. 

  • Thank you to everyone who let me know about the issue with question #10 on the League registration. I've changed it to be not required. It only pertains to teams in the greater Hillsboro and Beaverton area. 
  • Some of you have submitted signup forms using temporary numbers. This means your team is not yet fully nationally registered and paid.  This is a requirement. Your signups will be set aside until you can produce a valid paid registration number.
  • SLOT AVAILABILITY: Before you register for a League or Event - Click here to see if it is full or available. 
  •  I WANT TO KNOW.... if you are having issues with the national FIRST Registration system. I am here to help you work through these issues; please email Cathy Swider. 
    • Issues with getting through YPP- Youth Protection Program screening 
    • Not seeing a FIRST related grant that you know you received applied to your team account. 
    • Fill in the blank _______________________________________
  • The Sliding Scale for Payment. This season there is a sliding scale to pay for events. It ranges from full cost of program to a minimum fee which is the same as last year. To receive a discount, simply indicate how much of a discount you are requesting and click one of the boxes provide a reason. We fully understand that many of you will not be able to pay more than what you did last season. ORTOP is actively seeking additional sponsors to bridge the gap between the cost of running FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon and what our participating teams can pay.
  • Using the ORTOP Payment online system. We have a new payment system for receiving the payments to ORTOP. So far only one coach has reported an issue with making a payment. It's a technical glitch that we are working to resolve. Everyone else had no issues. 

That's all for now!  Onward!