• The Marlbots

FIRST World Championship Houston Recap

Hello! Bonjour! Hola! Zdravstvuyte! Nǐn hǎo! Salve! Konnichiwa! Guten tag! Olá! Anyoung haseyo! Asalaam alaikum!

You may be wondering why we are saying hello in so many languages, and we have a great reason: we just got back from the FIRST World Championship!! We had such an amazing time, and now we’d love to give you a quick update.


We left our school at 2pm on Tuesday. The car trunks were stuffed to the max, the robot was labelled with tons of fragile stickers, and we had everything we could possibly need packed away in duffel bags.

Off we went to the airport! We had an uneventful flight and arrived in Houston late Tuesday evening. We headed off to bed, ready to rise VERY early the next morning.


We had our judging first thing in the morning Wednesday morning, so we planned to set up the pit right afterwards. After a judging presentation without any major complications or issues, we went to set up the pit!

Here we are, ready for the next few days to come!

After passing both robot and field inspection, we had our first (and last) match of the day, which we won!


We went into Thursday with 8 matches to go, and the morning started off smoothly. We won the first match, then lost the second, then won the third, and then lost the fourth. This day was also the day that we hosted our second annual “Rainbow Day,” which involved participants wearing rainbow attire to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community within robotics and STEM. We decided to host this day due to our partnership with LGBTQ+ of FIRST, and we are so glad that we decided to work with them last year.

Throughout Thursday, we had 4 sets of judges come. The first set of judges was about our sustainability, so we talked about reaching out to the engineering community. The next set was about our nontechnical work, so we talked about LGBTQ+ of FIRST, our outreach with the organization CoachArt, and our design panel reviews with engineers from JPL, USC, and UCLA. After that, we met with judges about our robot, and they were especially interested in the Flexi-Rack and the potentiometer. Finally, we met with judges just about CoachArt. We were so glad to be able to talk to judges about such a variety of things!


On Friday, we finished up our final four matches and had one last set of judges come. The panel of judges that visited was a mix of a bunch of different groups, so we talked about a myriad of things.

As far as the matches went, we had a few problems with our autonomous at the beginning, but after realizing that it was a problem with an IMU not resetting, we were able to fix it and win our final two matches! The last match was especially sentimental because it was the last match Sally Ride (our robot) was ever going to compete in.

The drive team couldn’t have done a better job and the match went better than we ever could have hoped for! We even had a season high of having our robot make 16 trips to the crater and successfully scoring 30 minerals into the lander!


Though we were not picked for an alliance, we are so happy to have been able to compete alongside all of the amazing teams in Houston. After not getting chosen, we headed out for a fun afternoon around Houston. We went on a hunt and found some very cool murals to take pictures in front of. As you can see, we would make a very awesome band if they whole school-robotics-college-life plan doesn’t work out so well. After that, we went back to the convention center, got some lunch, and watched the division final matches in the stands while getting some seats for the award ceremony.

At the award ceremony, we found out that we were the 2019 Houston Worlds Motivate Award recipients! We could not be more happy to win this because it was a perfect display of how much we love all of the kids, and the whole organization of CoachArt, as well as our partnership with LGBTQ+ of FIRST.

After winning the award, we decided to go roller skating! There, we found out that our mentors are WAY better roller skaters than we are. They were racing around corners, going backwards, etc, while we were barely moving, crawling across the ground, and even asking if they had walkers (side note: they did not). Some of us actually knew what they were doing, but the majority of our team were beginners. Nevertheless, we had a very fun time. :)

After the excitement of the awards ceremony and rollerskating, we headed to Minute Maid Park. There, we watch the amazing final matches, celebrated the Inspire Award winners, and watch fireworks to commemorate the Star-Wars theme game for next year!

So now we have some funny things to mention before ending this update:

  • We all got kicked out of the jacuzzi one night because some of us weren’t 18, so we played mafia and ate a ton gummy bears

  • EVERYONE got sick on the team except for a few people that managed to escape the epidemic. NO ONE WAS SAFE.

  • Our flight home on Sunday was cancelled, so after talking with the amazing Southwest employee Amber, she was able to arrange a flight route that would fit all 17 people in our group, which took us from Houston → San Antonio → Oakland → Los Angeles. Though it was 15 hours of traveling, and we arrived 8 hours after we were originally supposed to, we are so grateful that we were able to get home in time for school the next day!

  • We have decided that Mr. Witman needs to create an app for his pep talks

Thank you so much for staying updated with this team, and we hope you will stay with us for the next few seasons!


The Marlbots 3526

(P.S.- Our school’s very own competition, the Second Tech Challenge, is starting soon, so you will get updates about that very soon! This competition will not only involve returning members from our own team, but also members from other teams at our school! Stay tuned!)

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