Starting Monday, November 4th Janice Martino will be the Regional Director of Upstate New York.
She wanted me to put a message out for the community about the announcement.
“For those who don’t know me, I’ve been involved with FIRST for over a decade. I am a believer in all that FIRST has to offer and even more so in the kids that make it so amazing. I am excited to get started.”
So for those of us who don’t follow New York too closely, what does this mean? I know there are multiple regionals in that area via a quick TBA search, is this one person replacing all of them? If so, is one “RD” for an actual region and not a regional normal?
My primary concern is the life of the events themselves. My current understanding is - and please, if I am wrong, please please please tell me - that FLR and TVR are largely held up by a single sponsor each. I worry about the sustainability of each event even with local leadership representatives (ie local RDs), and with having a “remote” RD, my worries still exist.
Dom has said some great things about Janice and I am very excited to meet her and welcome her into the community. I am confident that she can help out the area and I’m excited for what this holds for us in the future.
The region has done a lot of great things but has a lot of room to grow. I’m hoping the community and come together to address some of our inherent issues (e.g. lack of offseasons) as one.
Look, in my opinion - to be blunt here - district teams coming to NY events sucks. Not because we don’t want you here (I have made some great friends from district teams coming to NY!), but because we already have a rather limited number of championship spots. I can’t blame anyone for doing it - if I just so happened to be on a district team in the general proximity to NY () I would be super excited to do 1/3/5 with Tech Valley this year.
But it’s a problem. Let’s be real here. A huge number of NY slots have been “stolen” by district teams (most of which would normally qualify in their district) over the last several years, and it only seems to becoming a bigger issue every year. Over just the last 2 years, 9 championship qualifying slots have gone to out of district teams. I would wager 7 of those would have otherwise qualified normally in their district.
This is largely a NY specific issue since we are almost completely landlocked by districts at this point. I really hope that HQ can find a solution to this soon that makes everyone happy and allows people to have more choice in their event registration.
It’s absolutely demoralizing to have to cross an event off your list because it looks like prime picking for district teams to come through an get an “easy” win after they’ve already competed with almost no downsides (case in point: Pittsburgh 2020 - 217, 910, and a couple others still on the waitlist).
It’s intensely stressful for students to be competing in regionals against district teams. The “championship experience” as FIRST often touts is very real and it’s a very big deal for a lot of students, even students on regularly qualifying teams.
This is not a dig at any of the district teams that choose to attend regionals. It’s not your fault for being in this kind of position and I don’t blame anyone for taking advantage of it. It just sucks that it’s reality.
I’m sure this “landlocked by districts” phenomenon has also been observed in at least one other, adjacent region, as you referenced one of that region’s 2020 competitions in your post.
Don’t forget 11!
Last year, WOW teams did quite well in securing CMP-qualifying awards for the home region at Buckeye (and Pittsburgh, which had a very WOW-heavy team list). They were a bit less successful at Miami Valley but were still heavily in the awards mix. I would like to think this is a function of WOW teams getting better in general, but only time will tell.
This has definitely been more of a challenge for WOW in the past - as recently as 2018. You will see far more district teams peppering the WOW event winners and finalists in 2018 and prior, and if you go back far enough, you will see they were plenty represented when permitted to win major awards at regionals. Rule changes such as extra wildcards when district teams win regionals and preventing district teams from winning regional CMP-qualifying awards such as Chairman’s have helped ease the pain.
Buckeye should mostly be regional teams this year. I do believe there is a healthy waitlist of regional teams still to process that has been present since the 2nd preference phase. I can’t imagine many district teams getting in, especially with several of the traditional Michigan visitors to WOW regionals already registered for Pittsburgh. I think Miami Valley also had a healthy waitlist before open registration, so I can’t imagine more than 1, maybe 2 district teams going there.
However, PLENTY of Buckeye Regional teams are our New York neighbors. Miami Valley is also populated with a strong New York contingent in 2020. I think at least 5 WOW teams are going to FLR this year. Hey - it’s almost like Western New York and Ohio/ Western PA events (and even certain key volunteers) are historically and even geographically linked, and an argument could be made to combine them into their own unified district or something. WOWW.
As it stands, the powers that be would likely never let that occur. Would they?
So about the WOWW, we actually talked to people from HQ, during the 2018 championship.
They said they do not want to split a state in half, so WOWW wouldn’t work, and they don’t want like PA was, where it was half districts half regional, because where do you draw the line?
You create a WOWW district now there’s 4 events in NYC/LI for over 100 teams.