Alliance of high school teams wins FIRST Robotics district competition

District event winning teams, L-R, were 1778, 2910 and 2930. (Photos courtesy FIRST Robotics)

The first event of the 2023 FIRST Robotics Competition season was held recently at Glacier Peak High School and after 68 qualifying matches, an alliance of three Snohomish County teams — including one from Mountlake Terrace High School — emerged as the district event winner.

This year’s game challenge, called “Charged Up,” was announced Jan. 7. The teams had seven weeks to design, manufacture, build and program their robot to compete in this first competition March 4-5.

Teams were tasked with creating a robot that moved cubes and cones into a multi-tiered grid and then driving onto an unstable raised platform that they needed to balance using only the weight of their robots. Alliances of three teams work together during the qualifying matches in randomly assigned alliances. Teams could be partnered with a robot in one match, and against that same robot in the next match, so the goal is to work together rather than intentionally cause damage to the competitor’s robots.

Many of the team mascots present for a photo after the mascot parade.

The winning alliance consisted of Team 2910 (Jack in the Bot, from Jackson High School in Mill Creek), which was ranked number 1 as well as Team 2930 (Sonic Squirrels, from Glacier Peak High School in Snohomish) ,which was ranked number 2. Team 1778 (Chill Out, from Mountlake Terrace High School) had some radio connection and drivetrain challenges during the first day of matches, and was ranked 30th. However, during final alliance selection, Team 1778 was selected as the third robot in the alliance after correcting their mechanical issues, improved results Sunday morning and their ability to support defensive strategies during playoffs.

According to a news release summarizing the competition:

One of the trademarks for FIRST robotics is Gracious Professionalism, which is predicated on the belief that fierce competition and mutual gain are not separate notions. All of the 34 regional teams present showed this both in their attitudes and their willingness to help each other during competition. In the robot “pits” there are often overhead announcements that a team needs a part or needs help and another team will always come to their aid.

Team 2522 (Royal Robotics, from Lynnwood High School in Lynnwood) came to the aid of fellow Edmonds School District team 1778 Chill Out to help troubleshoot their intermittent radio connection issues and provided spare replacement parts which ultimately helped bring 1778 back to life. Without the support of 2522 Royal Robotics, 1778 Chill Out would not have been able to continue to compete.

Team 2910 Jack in the Bot earned the Excellence in Engineering Award and host Team 2930 Sonic Squirrels received the Autonomous Award. Team 1778 Chill Out managed to complete their robot late Friday night, even after the two-week Edmonds School District-wide internet outage severely hampered their development time.

There are six more regional qualification tournaments throughout the district, with three to be held in the greater Puget Sound area, before the District Championships in Cheney, Washington and World Championships in Houston, Texas are held in April. There are over 150 teams in the Pacific Northwest District, including many others from Snohomish County.

 You can find more information about FIRST Robotics Competition at

  1. Well done! As a semi-retired engineer, your challenges to overcome surprises on a deadline sounded way too familiar.

  2. Congratulations to all the students involved, including those from Lynnwood HS who helped the Mountlake Terrace team solve their issues. The cooperative and collaborative framework of the FIRST robotics program is more than impressive— it’s a model that should be used throughout our society.

  3. They have won another competition and are headed to the regional championship in Cheney next month.

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