Team History


Team 971 was founded in 2002 by a group of interested Seniors who approached the science and technology teacher. During this game, Zone Zeal, 971 had a robot that seeded 16th at the Silicon Valley Regional and was a NASA grant team.  In the 2003 game, Stack Attack, 971 seeded 28th at SVR and 8th at Sacramento, picking 951 and 1072 for its alliance partners.  The team went on to World Championships and seeded 67th in the Curie division.  This group lead the team for two years after the founding, until the Tech Teacher decided that he did not have enough time and the founding members graduated. 


In 2004, the team was taken over by the AP Physics teacher and a Junior who was a freshman on the original team along with an enthusiastic group of rookie students. This group led the team to a regional victory at the 2004 Silicon Valley Regional with 254 and 852, and a trip to the 2004 Nationals.

Robot Name: Scorpion Tank

Robot Specs:

·         125 lbs, Half-track, hook with winch for hanging

·         Seeded 1st at SVR, Champions, Picked 254 and 852

·         Seeded 17th on Galileo, Quarterfinalists with 980 and 236


Silicon Valley

Regional Champions

Notes: Halftracks excellent for climbing platform, Good safety factor on hook and winch mechanism.


This group continued with a strong showing at the 2005 Silicon Valley Regional, seeding 27th.  971's robot, Spartacus, was the only team with camera tracking at Silicon Valley in 2005.

Robot Name: Spartacus

Robot Specs:

·        119 lbs, 4wd, 2 jointed arm, Manual loading, Camera tracking

·        Seeded 27th at SVR,

Awards: “Best Autonomous Mode” from Team 22

Notes: Only SVR team with camera tracking, 4wd hopping problems, Tipping issues when holding Tetra high.



The next year, the Physics teacher decided because of his move, he would not have enough time for the team, so the slack was picked up by a dedicated math teacher and a strong student leadership. In 2006, the team tried an ambitious strategy that resulted in a lot of learning, but did not work as well as expected. None the less, the team still decided to go to Championships. That year, the team also connected with Berger Manufacturing, which allowed them to manufacture an intricate hopper design.

Robot Name: Mr. Cellophane

Robot Specs:

·         120lbs, 6wd, 4 speed, Ground pickup, Helix ball storage, Low goal shooter

·         Seeded 26th at SVR

·         Seeded 83rd on Galileo

Awards: None            

Notes: Very low CG, no tipping; 6wd alleviated hopping issues; Hopper worked well; Modified Skyway wheels worked well; Belt chain needed tensioner; T-Slot pillow blocks not rigid enough; Transmission over-torqued, set screws failed; Complicated chain caused problems; had to drill lightening holes. 


In 2007, with Berger Manufacturing, PF Development and a Solidworks seat, the team was able to try new ideas. With a combination of Berger’s sheet metal abilities, and PF Development’s machining abilities, the team was able to create an intricate robot design that worked pretty well during the competition.

Robot Specs:

  • double jointed arm w/ pneumatic wrist
  • 3/16 aluminum used-had to drill lightening holes

Notes:  Pre-set levels are imperative for fast scoring

Link to more 2007 robot details.


In 2008, most of the previous year’s team, which consisted of seniors, had graduated. The remaining members of the team successfully recruited many freshmen and sophomores to be a part of this amazing experience. All of the new team members were shown all aspects of the competition and what jobs had to be filled. After each team member selected the field that they were interested in, the more experience members trained the newcomers in everything related to that field so that they would be ready with knowledge to build the robot. With a team of excited rookies, the team went all the way to the quarterfinals at the 2008 Silicon Valley Regional.

Robot Specs:

The robot reeled in a large fiberglass hoop to grab that large game piece ball, with a fabric top part to align the hoop below the ball's equator. It was very clever but a lesson learned was that floppy mechanisms tend to be slow, hard to control, and an entanglement risk.

Link to more 2008 robot details.


After a huge recruiting effort, the team, composed of many excited freshman, was ready to learn from the existing members. The new team members learned and explored different aspects of robotics through pre-season projects and training sessions. All of the team’s knowledge was put to the test during build season, resulting in a robot that went, with the help of Teams 254 and 852, undefeated at the 2009 Silicon Valley Regional. At the 2009 FIRST Championship, the team joined 111 and 67’s alliance in Galileo and went undefeated through the rest of its matches all the way to a World Champion title.

Robot Name: Miss Communication

Robot Specs:

  • 6wd, 2 speed, Ground pickup, large ball storage
  • Undefeated #1 seed at SVR
  • World Champions with 67 HOTand 111 Wildstang.

Awards: Silicon Valley, Galileo, and World Champions, Calgames Runner-ups           

Notes: Balls got stuck in hopper, so an added roller helped but did not eliminate ball problems; Traction control was used on the slick surface; extra flanges needed in sheetmetal near bottom roller: it broke at Calgames during a colision.   

Link to more 2009 robot details.



With the legacy of last year, the team was ready to try to duplicate their success. A new, complicated game required hard decisions about priorities, and the team expanded its training on new members. At the 2010 Silicon Valley Regional, the team went all the way to finals, winning the event for the second year in a row, with alliance Teams 254 and 649. They then went on to the 2010 World Championships, achieving Quarter Finals in our Division with Teams 525 and 2137. After the season, the team continued its success by winning the 2010 WRRF CalGames.

Robot Name: Storm

Robot Specs:

  • 120lbs, 8wd, 2 speed: 16fps high gear and 6 fps low gear, Pinch rollers and kickers on both sides of robot
  • Undefeated # 1 seed at SVR
  • Reached Newton Quarterfinals

Awards: Coopertition, SVR and Calgames Champions             

Notes: Low center of gravity; sheet metal drivetrain 1/8 inch was heavy, had cutouts to help it go over bump.  Thermisters on the CIM drive train were useful; Motors got very hot when driven for a long time, fans help to cool them down tremendously; packing tape on rollers worked well during CalGames, had polurethane rollers for SVR and World Championship; chain tensioning system was time consuming and not effective.   

Link to more 2010 robot details.


Robot Name: Havoc

  • Roller claw on wrist which moved up and down on an elevator to score inner tubes at different heights
  • minibot which could go up the minibot pole in under a second
  • SVR semifinalists, Calgames champions, Madera finalists

Notes: high center of gravity (unstable) when wrist was all the way up. hard to change tread on wheels, some troubles with tensioners on the timing belt for the elevator. It was a 6 wheel tank drive, center wheel dropped, and had a quick tensioning system for the drivetrain.

Link to more 2011 robot details.



Robot Name: Renegade

  • Low center of gravity. ~8 inches, so there were no problems with tipping (As of 4/6/2012)
  • 6 Wheel, center wheel drop, two speed transmission, allowing for good manueverability.
  • Custom 3.5" diameter 2" wide wheels, allowed both easy removal by just punching out a dead axle, and tread could be changed by just cutting a ziptie and putting in a new ziptie. This means that the tread is both easy to replace and does not require excessively precise hole placement to make tight.
  • Push tensioners on the wheels, put didn't require too often tensioning because of the timing belt drive train
  • Transmissions:
    • 2 speeds.
    • Pancake (flat) pistons take up less space.
    • CIMs (motors) placed above center wheel (rather than the usual place well inside the robot), allowing for more space for electronics
    • Fans on the CIMs to avoid overheating
    • the transmissions are complete detachable, requiring just the unscrewing of 4 bolts (attached with PEM nuts) and the detaching of the pneumatic pipes on the pistons
  • Started season with 6 large plastic pneumatic tanks and a compressor. One tanks was taken off at SVR to conserve weight. This large number of tanks was originally included so that we might make due without an onboard compressor, but an off-board compressor seemed to complicated to risk without some more testing then would be ideal in the time available during competition season.
  • Drop-down pneumatic skids in the front of the robot lift up the front of the robot for going over the 4" bump without any difficulty while still keeping the bumpers within the bumper zone.
  • One-piece bumpers went over the robot without any gaps or breaks which might get snagged on. We ran into problems because there wasn't a great deal of room around some parts of the frame perimeter.
  • Over-the-bumper intake can both push down the bridge and collect balls along the entire front of the robot.
  • Horizontal roller and then vertical roller in the intake and shooter prevent jamming
  • 3 inch radius custom shooter wheel driven by two FisherPrice motors with curved hood which has two possible angles controlled by two pistons. One angle is for fender shooting, the other is for key shooting
  • The entire Superstructure (the vertical roller and shooter) is supported by glued 1/32" round tubing, which is both very light and very rigid.
  • There were problems with loctited pinions and shafts on motors becoming loose due to overheating during competition, primarily on the CIMS and roller motors. This was fixed by pressing on all the shafts and pinions.


  • Sacramento Champions
  • SVR Champions (1st seed)
  • Curie Quarterfinalists
  • Website Excellence Award


This was the first year which the team went through without having a teacher dedicated to the team (a couple teachers let us use their classrooms, but they didn't supervise or anything), we were able to get the school to authorize several team mentors and parents as supervisors. Also, at the end of the 2012 season going into the 2013 season, the team overwent a change in leadership structure to reflect the growing size of the team.

Link to more 2012 robot details.


Robot Name: Dash

  • Short enough to fit under the 30 in high lower level of the pyramids.
  • 6-wheel, center wheel drop sheet metal drivebase. The shorter wheelbase (length of robot) allowed for better maneuvarability than the 2012 robot.
  • 2-speed transmissions; during the off-season at the Madera MadTown Throwdown, the 8971 robot (the robot which we used at the official regionals) had friction clutch transmission installed instead of the more traditional dog transmissions we ran with during the season.
  • Ground intake which could pick up discs from anywhere in front of the robot. The main frame of the intake is welded to be able to withstand impacts and powered by a miniCIM geared down to bring the wrist down in around a quarter to a half of a second. This allowed us to run with a 7-disc autonomous.
  • Helical hopper for storing disc. This gave us active control over the discs throughout their path through the robot, in contrast with the more typical bucket which was used to hold frisbees, where frisbees were left lose within a bucket.
  • Adjustable-angle shooter allowed for us to expirement with various presets for the angle of the shooter to determine the optimal spot and angle to shoot from.
  • Encoders on the wrist, helical indexer, angle adjuster, and shooter (along with hall effect sensors for zeroing the wrist and angle adjust and beam break sensors at either end of the helix) allowed for precise control of the speed and location of all of our mechanisms and, by extension, the frisbees controlled by these mechanisms.
  • A secondary processor (a Fit-PC with an Intel atom processor) and a custom circuit board with a gyro and digital inputs allowed us create and program a robust controller, only using the cRIO itself to relay instructions to the various actuators.


  • Sacramento Regional: Creativity Award, semifinalists
  • Silicon Valley Regional: Dean's List Finalist, quarterfinalists
  • CalGames: Finalists
  • MadTown Throwdown: Finalists; we also received an engineering award for the friction clutch transmissions.

In 2013, our main sheet metal manufacturing sponsor, Berger Manufacturing, went out of business over the summer before the 2012 - 2013 school year. A subgroup of dedicated students and mentors went through the process of contacting and communicating with many different local manufacturing businesses. They were able to find several machining companies generous enough to sponsor us.

Link to more 2013 robot details.


Aerial Assist

Robot Name: Mammoth

Robot Performance:


  • The only person who had been updating the team history page graduated


Video playlist

Link to more 2014 robot details.


Recycle Rush


First year as number one seed in our division at Champs.  First year to receive an award at champs.



Sacramento Regional - attended

Silicon Valley Regional

  • Regional Finalists

  • Excellence in Engineering Award sponsored by Delphi

Carver Division - St. Louis

  • Excellence in Engineering Award sponsored by Delphi



Link to more 2015 robot details.



Robot Name: Geoffrey


Sacramento Regional

  • Regional Winners

  • Industrial Design Award sponsored by General Motors

Silicon Valley Regional

  • Regional Finalists

Hopper Division - St. Louis

  • Championship Subdivision Finalist

Chezy Champs

  • Winner



Link to more 2016 robot details.




First year that the team won a Chairman’s Award.


SF Regional

  • Regional Winners

  • Creativity Award sponsored by Xerox

Silicon Valley Regional

Carver Division - Houston

  • Championship Subdivision Finalist


Link to more 2017 robot details.


Power Up


SF Regional

  • FIRST Dean's List Finalist Award (Bahar Maghbouleh)

  • Regional Winners


  • Regional Finalists

  • Industrial Design Award sponsored by General Motors

Newton Division - Houston

  • Innovation in Control Award sponsored by Rockwell Automation

Chezy Champs

  • Programming Award

Madtown Throwdown

  • Finalist

  • PG&E Excellence in Engineering Award



Link to more 2018 robot details.