New and potential members

FRC Team 971 is a high school robotics team for current MVHS students. Students who will be attending MVHS in the fall may begin attending meetings starting in the summer.

This page contains information that should be useful to new or potential members.

Meeting times

The meeting times and locations are available at the "Calendar" link at the top of this page. Meetings are held in room 521 on most Wednesdays nights from 7:15pm - 9:15pm year round. During the school year, there may also be occasional meetings at lunch.  During the main season (January through April) additional meetings are scheduled on weekends. Meeting times are also sent out on the team elist.


About the team

We are a FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition) team, part of the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) organization. FIRST is a non-profit organization which organizes robot competitions for elementary through high school. The stated mission of FIRST is:

"Our mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership."

We are team number 971, Spartan Robotics. Both the team number and name may be used to describe the team, so don't be surprised if people start refering to the team as team 971. We train new members throughout the summer and fall semesters, as well as attending a couple of off-season competitions during October and November (one or two are relatively local, the other is in Madera, which is a travel trip). The main season itself is January through April. A game is released in early January, then we work to build a robot for six weeks and end up going to several regional competitions (in past years we have gone to UC Davis and SJSU) during March. If we qualify at one of those events, we attend the World Championship in St. Louis in April.

What can new members do?

As a new member, it can be hard to figure out something to do. Because new members don't have any training it can seem hard to participate. But, if you do your best to attend the weekly meetings and are constantly asking for something to do (if you sit there waiting for something to do, you may or may not get to do anything; if you proactively ask around, then you will certainly be able to find things to do) and attending any training meetings which are organized, you will be able to find things to do and have a great time on the team.  Every year we have new members go from knowing nothing to being key contributors by the end of the season.  All of them are persistent and show up to most of the meetings.

I don't particularly enjoy building robots, but I still want to be involved. Are there other things I can do?

Despite being a robotics team, there are many tasks which we have that do not involve robots themselves. There are sponsor relations (writing), management/leadership, "scouting" (strategy at competitions), graphic design and several others.

Where can I find information on past robots and games?

If you want to find out more information about past year's games and our robots, you can check out our past robot design page.

Keeping up to date with the team

The team has several forms of communication which we use in order to get information to members:

  • Team Elist: Anyone can sign up for this, and can easily be signed up for on the school elist site, filling in the appropriate information, clicking "Show me my elist subscriptions", scrolling down to select the Robotics elist, and then scrolling to the bottom of the page and clicking "Submit and Review." In general, team meeting times and major dates will be sent to the elist.
  • This Website: The website will be updated periodically, usually before and after major events (competitions, start of school, etc.). You can see the most recent updates by navigating to the front page.
  • Team Google Group: There is a team google group (essentially a mailing list, similar to the elist) on which occurs much of the technical and more detailed discussion which is internal to the team. If you have showed up a few times and are showing a clear commitment to the team, you will be added to the google group.
  • Team Google Calendar: The team tries to keep out Google Calendar up to date.  You can look there for upcoming meetings and events.

Events and Competitions

The team attends four to six competition events during the school year, two - three off-season events and two regionals plus the World Championship if we qualify. 

  • Off-Season - "Chezy Champs": This event (called Chezy Champs) generally occurs in late September and is held at Bellarmine College Prep, a high school in San Jose that is relatively close.  The event is Saturday and Sunday with practice matches on Friday evening. Chezy Champs has some of the best teams on the west coast and is a lot of fun to be part of.

  • Off-Season - Madera: The Madera event occurs in early November. Madera is a two to three hour drive from Mountain View, so the trip is overnight and you may have to miss school. We first did Madera in 2011, where we were finalists. In 2012, we won the event.  It is always an exciting event and a lot of fun.  We compete with our two robots from the competition season and then also take our 'third robot'.  This is a new robot that plays the prior season's game that is designed and built during the summer and fall. Often many of our new members are part of the design, manufacturing and assembly of this robot.
  • First Regional -  Regionals run from either Thursday through Saturday or Friday through Sunday and require missing school.  We try to attend regionals that are either local or require an overnight stay but are withing driving distance.
  • Regional - Silicon Valley (SVR): Generally late March or the first weekend in April. This regional is held at SJSU, so we carpool every day. This regional does result in a missed Thursday and Friday of school. We have won Silicon Valley 4 of the last 7 years.
  • World Championship - Houston: This generally occurs in mid to late April and will result in a missed Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of school. Whether we attend the world championship depends primarily on whether or not we win one of our regionals. We won the world championship in 2008 - 2009, and attended the championship in 2009 - 2010, 2011 - 2012, and 2014 - 2017.

More about Team 971 and what does a typical season look like?

Here are notes from an orientation meeting for new members and their parents.  It answers many basic questions about our team and the commitment required to get the most out of being on the team.  It also has an approximate schedule for the current 2018-2019 season.

Critical Season dates

  • Here is a summary of important dates for new members to know about up front.
    • Kickoff - Saturday, January 5, 2019 - This is when the team gets the new challenge for the season.  This year it is the Saturday before school starts.  If you haven't already planned a trip for that time, please consider being back in town on that date.  Many design decisions and much work is done that weekend and members who miss it will have a lot of catching up to do.
    • Stop Build Day - Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - This is during winter break. A lot of important work is done in the days before we put the competition robot in a bag.  If you are planning a vacation during that week, please consider leaving after Tuesday.
    • Championship event in Houston - April 17-20, 2019 - This is during Spring break.  While it is not guaranteed that we will attend, there is a good chance we will qualify.  All active members are eligible to attend.

If you are interested in joining the team, go to the 'Steps for joining the robotics team' page and follow the instructions.  Because of growing interest in being part of the team, membership is limited to current MVHS students.