FIRST Tech Challenge

FIRST Tech Challenge

FIRST Tech Challenge

FIRST Tech Challenge is for high school students who want to compete head to head, using a sports model. Teams of up to 15 students are responsible for designing, building, and programming their robots to compete in an alliance format against other teams. The robot kit is reusable from year-to-year and in 2016-17, it will be programmed using Java and operated through smart phones and tablets. Teams, including coaches, mentors and volunteers, are required to develop strategies and build robots based on sound engineering principles. Awards are given for the competition as for well as for community outreach, design and other real-world accomplishments.

iSPACE is the Ohio affiliated partner for FIRST Tech Challenge.

Starting a Team

Anyone can start a FIRST Tech Challenge Team! Teams may be made up of members from a school, church, scout troop, club or group of friends. It is often necessary to form a new team since existing teams may not be adding new members. A starting point is FIRST’s Start a Team webpage. Note: Neither iSPACE nor FIRST creates teams, hosts teams or places students onto teams.

Steps to Form a Team:

  1. Recruit 3-10+ students; team members must be ages of 13-18. An individual can be on only one FIRST Tech Challenge team per season.
  2. Register the team with FIRST Tech Challenge. Registration opens in May and runs until mid-September or until all slots are filled, whichever comes first. Team members do not need to be identified until tournament registration in late fall.
  3. Order your robotics kit and begin practicing building techniques and learning the programming software.
  4. Attend the FIRST Tech Challenge OH Kick-Off in September, as FIRST reveals the yearly FIRST Tech Challenge Challenge.
  5. Register below for an Ohio Regional Qualifying Tournament. FIRST Tech Challenge OH has a qualifying system whereby teams must compete in one of six qualifying tournaments to advance to the FIRST Tech Challenge OH Championship. Qualifying Tournaments are usually in December and January and the OH Championship is in February. Approximately 1/6 of the teams competing in qualifiers advance.

Download How to Form FIRST Tech Challenge Team 2016-17 flyer.

FIRST Tech Challenge Timeline

May: Registration begins
September: Kickoff
September – March: Build and Practice Season
October – March: Tournament Season
November- February: Local Scrimmages
December-February: Regional Qualifying Tournaments
February: State Championship  (Ohio)
March: Super Regionals – Iowa (teams must qualify)
April: FIRST Championship – St. Louis, MO USA

Estimated Costs

The following sample budget is for a new team, purchasing one FIRST Tech Challenge competition kit and participating in one event. Team may choose to purchase additional parts and/or participate in multiple events, so fees would vary accordingly. Travel costs will vary due to the distance and time needed to travel to an event.
Cost: $1750 – 3000 for a new team, Subsequent years can be as low as $500.
$275 FIRST Tech Challenge Team Registration Fee
$100 FIRST Tech Challenge OH Regional Qualifier Registration Fee
$250 FIRST Tech Challenge OH Championship fee (if team advances)

Rookie Teams may apply for needs-based grants by going to Needs-based Grant.

Regional Qualifying Tournaments

Qualifying Tournament are held in December, January and February. There are six tournaments in Ohio.

Ohio FIRST Tech Challenge Advancing Team Details

There are six Ohio FIRST Tech Challenge Regional Qualifying Tournaments and each will advance five teams to the 32 team Ohio State Championship Tournament based on the official FIRST Tech Challenge Team Advancement Criteria (Game Manual Part I: 4.8).  This means that 30 teams will advance to the Championship Tournament, filling all but two team slots.

Each Regional Tournament will also identify a first alternate Ohio team based on the same FIRST Tech Challenge Advancement Criteria. After the last Regional Tournament, the six alternate Ohio teams will be ranked based on their best qualifying tournament match score.  The top two alternate teams will fill the remaining two team slots at the Ohio Championship Tournament.  The remaining four alternates will fill any vacated tournament slots based on their ranking order.

Advancing and alternate teams will be posted at the iSPACE website.  The alternate team ranking will be posted on the website after completion of the final Regional Tournament by February 4, 2017.

Tournament Registration

Tournament registration is going to be slightly different this year.  With 100 teams expected in Ohio we want to make sure that every team has a chance to compete.  Therefore, we will be moving to a tiered registration process.

  • September 11, 2016 Ohio Qualifying Tournament Registration will begin.  Ohio teams may register for ONE Ohio Qualifying Tournament starting on this date.  If you register for more than ONE tournament ALL of your registrations will be voided, you will be charged a cancellation fee and you will have to start the registration process again.
  • September 25, 2016 we’ll open a second round of Tournament Registration.  Ohio teams may register for a second Qualifying Tournament if they choose starting on this date.
  • On November 1, 2016 if there are still slots available we will open a third round of Tournament registration for Ohio Teams to register for a third tournament and teams residing in contiguous states (Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Michigan) to register for one tournament
  • New Wait List Priority System
    In the past the wait lists for qualifying tournaments was purely done with a time stamp.  This year Ohio Teams will have priority on any wait lists that are created for Ohio Qualifying Tournaments.
  • This year in Ohio we are going to carefully monitor the FIRST rule about THREE Tournament limits for advancement. This is rule 7.2 in the game manual. “Those Teams who compete in more than three Qualifying Tournaments, League Championships, and Championship Tournaments do so for the purpose of being involved in the fun and excitement of the Tournament and not with the intention of winning awards or advancing to the next Tournament level.”   If you have any questions about this please feel free to get in touch Lori McAlister for more information or clarification.
  • Teams who are no-shows or who pull out of a OH Qualifier without providing at least a 10 day advanced notice may forfeit a slot at the OH Championship. Tournament registration fees will not be refunded unless teams give a 30 day notice of non-participation. There will be a $25 handling fee for all cancellations.

Register for ONE tournament now!


Scheduled Qualifying Tournaments:

FIRST Tech Challenge Dayton OH Qualifying Tournament (West Central OH)
Saturday December 17th and SUNDAY December 18th, 2016

West Carrollton High School

5833 Student Street

Dayton, OH 45449

Contact: Terence Chu –

FIRST Tech Challenge Newark OH Qualifying Tournament (Central OH)
December 2-3, 2016

Reese Center
1209 University Drive (on the campus of Central Ohio Technical College and Ohio State University at Newark)
Newark, Ohio 43055

More info at :

Contact: Jeff and Nancy Richards (704.973.0455) –

FIRST Tech Challenge Cleveland OH Qualifying Tournament (Northeast OH)
January 6-7, 2017

Cuyahoga Community College
Eastern Campus
4250 Richmond Road
Highland Hills, OH 44122

More info at:

Contact:Pat Checkel (216.410.7107) –

FIRST Tech Challenge Van Wert OH Qualifying Tournament (Northwest OH)
January 27-28, 2017

Van Wert High School
10708 St. Rt. 118 S.
Van Wert, OH 45891

Contact: Zane McElroy (419.230.9581) –

FIRST Tech Challenge Cincinnati OH Qualifying Tournament (Southwest OH)
January 27-28, 2017

Walnut Hills High School
3250 Victory Parkway
Cincinnati, OH 45207

Contact: Rocky Tekulve (513.260.0879) –

FIRST Tech Challenge Kent State OH Qualifying Tournament (Northeast OH)
February 3-4, 2017

Kent State University
Kent State Student Center
Ballroom – 2nd Floor
1075 Risman Drive
Kent, OH 44242

Contact: Jackie Ruller –


Qualifying Tournament fee: $100 (2016-2017)

All teams including students, coaches and mentors must have signed consent forms to participate in any FIRST events. Teams must use the electronic forms, as this is the most convenient submission method. Electronic Consent and Release forms “cover” individuals at all 2016-17 FIRST competition events (students and their parents access the electronic form in STIMS; adult mentors in TIMS). A hard-copy Consent and Release form is available for download.

Special Notes:

  • Only teams who qualify at one of the OH Qualifiers may advance to championship. (Exception: We may hold open a few slots at the championship for teams that find themselves in extenuating circumstances. Such teams must apply for exceptions and their situation will be assessed by the tournament managers before a decision is reached.)
  • OH Qualifiers and the Championship event will be conducting software inspections the evening before the tournament. This may require some teams to spend the night.  It will not be necessary for the whole team to come on Friday evening. One or two team members can bring the robot that evening and the rest of the team can arrive on Saturday morning. Only in exceptional circumstances will we conduct software inspections on Saturday morning and this must be approved by the Affiliate Partner in advance.
  • Teams who are no-shows or who pull out of a OH Qualifier without providing at least a 10 day advanced notice may forfeit a slot at the OH Championship. Tournament registration fees will not be refunded unless teams give a 30 day notice of non-participation. There will be a $25 handling fee for all cancellations.


After qualifying in one of the regional tournaments in Ohio, teams compete in the OH FIRST Tech Challenge Championship with the top five teams advancing to the FIRST Tech Challenge North Super-Regional Championships. 2016-2017 OH FIRST Tech Challenge Championship will be held at iSPACE on February 10-11, 2017.

Dan Kobida,, 513-324-1555
Lori McAlister,, 513-612-5786   cell: 513-696-6784

Information about the Ohio FIRST Tech Challenge Championship Tournament for Qualifying Teams and registration link is here.

Printable Copy of the Ohio FIRST Tech Challenge Championship Tournament Information Packet is here.

Information on how to submit Compass and Promote Award videos for the Ohio FIRST Tech Challenge Championship Tournament here.

T-Shirt order form can be found here.  Pre-Orders are closed.

Concession menu and Pizza Pre-Order form can be found here.

Proposed Advancement

Teams will advance to the next level of competition in the order indicated below according to the number of spots available. The advancement criteria will be applied to teams advancing from a Qualifying Tournament to a Championship Tournament to a Super-Regional Tournament, and from a Super-Regional Tournament to the World Championship Tournament.

In the event that the team listed has already advanced or there is no team fitting that description (as in 2nd team selected at smaller events), the advancement will continue in this order.

  1. Qualifier Host Team
  2. Inspire Award Winner
  3. Winning Alliance Captain
  4. Inspire Award 2nd place
  5. Winning Alliance, 1st team selected
  6. Inspire Award 3rd place
  7. Winning Alliance, 2nd team selected
  8. Think Award Winner
  9. Finalist Alliance Captain
  10. Connect Award Winner
  11. Finalist Alliance, 1st team selected
  12. Rockwell Collins Innovate Award Winner
  13. Finalist Alliance, 2nd team selected
  14. PTC Design Award Winner
  15. Motivate Award Winner
  16. Control Award Winner
  17. Highest Ranked Team* not previously advanced until all spaces are filled, beginning with the Winning Division and alternating to the Finalist Division team of equal rank.
  18. Think Award 2nd Place
  19. Highest Ranked Team not previously advanced until all spaces are filled, beginning with the Winning Division and alternating to the Finalist Division team of equal rank.
  20. Connect Award 2nd Place
  21. Highest Ranked Team not previously advanced until all spaces are filled, beginning with the Winning Division and alternating to the Finalist Division team of equal rank.
  22. Rockwell Collins Innovate Award 2nd Place
  23. Highest Ranked Team not previously advanced until all spaces filled, beginning with the Winning Division and alternating to the Finalist Division team of equal rank.

iSPACE is the designated FTC Affiliate Partner for Ohio. 

FTC OH Championship sponsored by:

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