What did Texas think of the first season of Districts?

Take this from a below to average team in north Texas. We LOVED It! Close events (less travel to raise). Good venues with small quantity of teams. They played fast as compared to a slower regional. We got over 30 drives this year compared to the 10 at regionals last year. District / UIL helps our funding out because our school gets certain budgets for UIL whereas the regional didn’t count last year for us using UIL. Thumbs up for us. Also side note during the Plano regional last year I told FIT how terrible of an idea this was (it was our first year last year). Man this crow tastes so good.


I was anti-district and I loved it. The district championship was certainly the most intense event I’ve been to because we were all fighting for championship slots. I think the out of bag time made me OK about getting rid of stop build day because by the time we got the second robot built for practice I feel like we were already un-bagging for the first event.

One killer we had was finishing last Sunday in Dallas and turning around to get to Austin Wednesday at 2pm. We played in 30+ matches with practice rounds since last Friday… that’s a lot of robots in a short time

FiT is far from perfect and had some execution issues but they’ve generally come through to make things right quickly as possible (SURELY we won’t ever have the entire event in one exhibition hall of Palmer event center again). We had an issue where we were going to have to travel like 5-6 hours away because that was the only event open. Admittedly, we cried about it like babies based and FiT got us closer to home (we love to travel, but generally to places where we can have kids visit a college or something on the way/at the destination is a big selling point for school approval).


There’s only one Woodie Flowers award winner in the world each year. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to only award one WFFA per district, although I also think a good case could be made about more proportional representation. Unfortunately, there are too many good mentors in FRC to be able to acknowledge all of them through the award. That said, the elite status of the WFFA (it’s a banner now!) justifies its rarity and raises its value, in my opinion.

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Im on a bus back from PNW DCMP watching over studenrs, so this is going to be slightly disjoined, and I apologize in advance.

Firstly, i found this:

And then the turnaround response:

To really get under my skin. If this isint the definition of “im right and youre wrong,” I dont know what is.

Someone said early that a single winner is just as arbatrary, and I have to agree. Theres so many deserving mentors ive met over the years and for many of them they nevee get the public recognition as so many are just as deserving, and one of theirs was chosen instead. If we compare this to deans list, the other person award for teams, most districts send 3-10 (ish? I know PNW Sends 4) onto worlds. It seems shameful to have so many go unrecognised.

While im not 100% sure, PNW has done this at least this year (and announcing WFFA nominees at district events for the last couple years, we had so many at DCMP it would be unrealistic to do it then) and I think its great. Its just sad to see only one move on proportional to the maybe 35 down there…

To the thread itself, its great to see texas having a positive view on districts. Hopefully more make the change in the next couple years too.


I’m glad to hear that you loved the change to districts overall.

This is something that most district teams learn after a season or two; with a district championship that is so important for getting to world’s it is sometimes worth not playing in a week 6 event. I know it isn’t something all teams have the option of doing but a lot of teams try to avoid it if they feel that they will need rest or iteration before DCMP’s. Just food for thought.

(Also, congrats on chairman’s at Dallas!)

Just wait till your district goes maximum awards advancement and lots of the teams that win the auto-qualifying awards start having losing records. This minimizes the number of teams that advance on robot performance.

In one year in the PNW the point cutoff has jumped from 124 to 142 points. It’s to the point where if there were just one more low-point team winning an auto-qualifying award then the point cutoff would jump by another 12. For reference, the Texas cutoff is 110 right now.

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Paul, I’m curious if you guys have considered in recent years adding a level of advancement before the DCMP WFFA level?

If each district event had a single winner, then I think this could be a good way of finding a way to more concretely recognize some of the awesome deserving mentors while making it more reasonable to continue to keep DCMP at a single WFFA winner.

I know some of my students this year and I’m sure many others were actually under the impression that this was the case. They thought the names that are displyed up during opening ceremonies was to show which nominees had advanced to DCMP. When I explained to them that this was not the case, they we’re confused by why they had to choose a specific district event to submit our teams nominee for WFFA.

You talk about increasing recognition of all teams nominees, and I think that is something all of us can get behind. But I wonder if there hasn’t been enough clarity past some posts here on CD to teams about how the process works exactly and some of the reasoning behind it.

It also seems at some point that only WFA winners being the judges of all submissions must not be sustainable anymore (I’m surprised this isn’t the case already?) and wonder if maybe allowing the blue shirts at the district event level to find those nominees to move on to the DCMP round would be more sustainable long term, with the WFA winners then deciding the single DCMP winner. I think this solution 1) is a great way to get more exceptional mentors some community recognition, 2) makes the burden of judging WFA submissions sustainable into the future growth of FRC, and 3) makes it so that a single WFFA winner per district is able to follow the sports like model you mention while still giving students and their teams a feeling like they can at least achieve a “win” at the district level even if they (the team submission) maybe isn’t strong enough to be a DCMP WFFA winner yet.

I would love to hear your or any other WFA committee members thoughts on this proposal and how it fits into your mindset as a committee.

Thanks for all you guys do not only being amazing role models for your fellow mentors as well as the student who look up to you, but also for all the dedication and time you must put in reviewing all of the submissions every year.


I for one am a huge fan of the district system. In our teams 12 year history this is the first year that we qualified for world champs. The district system gives a team like mine a chance to qualify when we build a good consistent robot that may just not be on the level of the powerhouse teams.


This is awesome. It’s a huge reason districts are so great. There are so many good teams that fall just a few points short of the winning alliance that never get to go to champs.

I also love more matches, reduced cost, and open bag time. The state championship was insane. At the end of Friday with just a couple qualification matches for each team left, no one knew how it was going to play out. Elims were intense, any one of the alliances could have taken home the win. Lastly, the general vibe talking to teams seemed more relaxed than at worlds, perhaps because everyone knows there is still one more event to go. Two thumbs up for districts.


That was true last year when there were 6 of them. The argument is the number of WFFA should be proportional or the single award should be a WFA. If we’re awarding a single one, it’s no longer a finalist. They’ve achieved something greater than the finalist. If it’s a finalist, it should be on par with finalists at regional events.

Having talked with Paul a number of times, this is just something that’s coming off in text poorly. If you had his tone, you’d know it’s something more along the lines of “we’ve heard this feedback before. As a group, we’ve decided to expand recognition in other ways. Right now, we respectfully disagree. As there isn’t any real middle ground, I hope that’s answer enough.”

It wasn’t meant to be as absolute as it came off without tone.

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This is exactly the case, I promise. If you are going to Houston please seek me out and we can talk face to face about this. I promise this is not an “I’m right and you’re wrong” situation.


As a team that DID NOT make it to state, I think districts really improved the quality of robots over all. Those extra 6 hours of unbag time before an event really helped teams make improvements or practice before the event. I will be the first to admit that we did not approach this season correctly and it showed. I fully believe that all the teams that made it to state were the best teams in the state. I’m excited to see how the level of competition rises in Texas in the future with districts.


I’m a mentor for a team in Southern California, and we’ve basically been told that going to a district system is 2 years away (though we’ve been hearing that it’s 2 years away for 4 years now), and mathematically I know it makes sense, but I suspect there are several other factors that aren’t as attractive, and I’m hoping to get some idea of how it went in Texas regarding these points:

1. Number of district events: CA already has a large number of Regional events, 12. That is more regionals than PNW (9) or FIT (10) has district events. Texas is also large (but fewer teams), and went from 6 Regionals to 10 District events (plus the district champs). We’d need an absolutely absurd number of district events to get the fewer team numbers that are ideal for district events. What has that been like for Texas? Were there too many or too few events? Additionally, did you feel that having to go to too many events was wearing down your team? Too much time off school for students possibly?

2. Qualifying: I know the district system is a bit more fair, in regards to qualifying for district champs without being one of the winners, consistent high ranking and awards factor into it as well. How does your team feel about the added step of being being fed into a formula to quantify your performance at an event? And how is it knowing that a stellar single district event does not guarantee anything?

3. Booking Champs: We were quite fortunate that we won EI in a week 1, and were able to book travel and lodging, as well as budget accordingly for Houston within a reasonable time frame. It seems detrimental that the district event champs event is so late that booking the trip to World is more expensive and generally harder to plan (I realize that later regionals have this same problem). How do you feel about not knowing if you qualified until such a late date? Was booking a problem for you?

4. The Venue: When my team had not started yet, my friend (@BordomBeThyName) and I went to a regional (in the Long Beach Colosseum), and it was a spectator sport that was exciting and we enjoyed watching it. The venue and production value showed that they respected the students ability, this was no slapdash operation, it made us want to start our own team. However, if instead, we’d gone to a small district event in a local high school gym, I’m honestly not sure if we’d have felt the same, we might not have made a team. It just seems less exciting. In our time as a team, we’ve been to some small venues, and while the competition itself will always be exciting to us, those smaller places just didn’t feel right. How do you feel going from larger venues to smaller ones? Does it take some of the magic out of it, or does it not matter?

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In the standard sized district, ie like Texas, having one stellar event (and at least showing up at your second) does guarantee something and that something is moving on to DCMP.


How many events = absurd number of events? I’d love to see the math you’ve done.

This is already happening in California. We just got back from Aerospace Valley Regional and had a blast. High School regional events are way better than regional events at colleges or event centers. The logistics are smoother, parking is generally free, and food/drink can be brought right next to the venue. Also, some Regional events cost up to $300k to run, such a waster of local funds.



4 of the 12 regionals in California took place in high school gymnasiums. 6 of them fell between a final roster count of 35-45, about the size of a district event.

In 2006 (the year before 2102 was founded) there were 3 regionals in California, with 2 in the north and 1 in the South. Were districts to come to California before the heat death of the universe, there would likely be 1 regional-level event in both Northern and Southern California.


With about 60-65% of the number of teams that are in FiM, you would have needed about 17 or 18 district events this year. Plan for more; when you start putting district events in areas of the state that currently aren’t served by a regional event you’ll get more teams.

The CA-CMP would be a different animal. You might have too many teams for an Ontario-style double-field event, but not enough to require a full blown 4 divisions like FiM.

Still, I believe the benefits outweigh the challenges you’d face, so plan for it.


I haven’t done any in depth math on this, except that Texas went from 6 regionals to 10 districts. I don’t know if that was a too many, too few, or just right, but if CA went with the same ratio, we’d be at 20 district events, which puts us just short of FiM levels (28 district events) which they then have a super-district event with multiple fields to accommodate the number of teams. That amount seems insane to me, but they seem to manage it alright. I think maybe CA would need a North and a South District Champs (if for no other reason than the travel distance) and even those might need to be multi-field events.

One other thing that worries me is that we get lots of out of town teams to visit to compete at our regional in San Diego (and Del Mar), and I get it, we’re a beach town and for many, an escape from the cold weather. I’m know other CA regionals are also common “away” regionals for teams as well. I enjoy seeing a cycle of unfamiliar teams. With districts, we would not get out of state competitors, right? Or is that not how that works?


Great question. With districts, any other team in a district system can compete at out-of-area districts (for no points). We’d likely see the occasional PNW and TX team in a theoretical CA district. Also, going to districts means we can play in other district events and regionals, opening up a lot of options to play in areas we currently can’t because CA is still in regionals. Going to districts does mean no regional teams from other areas can play at our district events.


I’ll agree with this. Now that the bag is going away in 2020, maybe CA should stay in Regionals, so we can recognize more amazing mentors in a more meaningful way than Districts are currently able to.

As a WFFA recipient myself, I’m really hoping this can change in the future for the many mentors across this program that deserve adequate, proportional recognition for their impact in the lives of young people.