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Team 399 - Eagle Robotics

Our Team History

Eagle Robotics was founded by Dr. Marianne McCarthy in the fall of 1999. This page summarizes our yearly participation in the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC).
Since 1989, the FIRST Robotics Competition has grown from 28 teams in a small gym to over 2000 teams! Be sure to watch the video made by Ha-Dream Team #3075 that details the history of FIRST Robotics Competitions from 1992-2011.


Team 399 originated in 1999. Dr. Marianne McCarthy from NASA Dryden approached Lancaster High in hopes of creating the first Robotics team in the Antelope Valley. The team was formed with lead advisor Ty Mettler and a group of 24 students. NASA became a major sponsor giving us the opportunity to get started and compete.

Mentors included: Mr. Parker, Mr. Armstrong, Mr. Adam Matuszeski, Mr. Thunderling, Mrs. Henry, Mrs. Farris, and Mrs. Mettler. We named our first robot “PacBot” and competed in the Regional Competition in San Jose, CA, placing 31st out of 43. We also attended the National Competition in Orlando, Florida and made a good showing for a rookie team placing 89th out of 268.
FRC 2000 Game


Returning as lead advisor, Mr. Ty Mettler added an assistant advisor, Mr. Mick Bowen. Team mentors included: Mr. Adam Matuszeki, Mr. Parker, Mrs. Thunderling, Mrs. Henry, and Mrs. Lowe. The robot was named “Cledus” the second year. It was during this year that we also created a team logo that has stuck with the team ever since it was created. Interested in exploring a different venue, we decided to go to the Los Angeles, CA, Regional Competition and we finished 23rd out of 47 teams. We returned to the National Competition in Orlando, Florida and placed 42nd out of 100 teams in our division.
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Mr. Ty Mettler left the Robotics team this year, and Mr. Bowen became lead advisor welcoming assistant advisor Mr. Spoelstra. Vice Principal Stacy Bryant created a marketing subteam lead by Rose Berumen to expand public awareness and team imagery.

The mentors this year included: Mrs. Lowe, Mr. Chambers, Mr. Matuszeski, Mr. Cornell, Mr. Colon, Mrs. Henry, Mr. Jennings, and Mr. Craft. Our team decided to name the robot “Oompa Loompa” which took 2nd place in the Los Angeles, CA, Regional Competition. We placed 20th in their division at Nationals in Orlando, Florida and ended the season very happy with the progression of our team.
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The members of the 4th Robotics team said good-bye to Mr. Bowen, who resigned, and the team began anew with Mr. Spoelstra as lead advisor. Since “Oompa Loompa” did so well the previous year, our team decided to stick with the Willy Wonka theme, naming the robot “Oompa Loompa 2.” We made a good showing at the Regional Competition in Los Angeles, CA again this year and came in 5th place. Nationals moved to Houston Texas and our team placed 12th in our division.
This years mentors included: Mr. Chambers, Mr. Matuszeski, Mr. Cornell, Mr. Colon, Mr. Craft, Mrs. Lowe, Ms. Berumen, Ms. Cooney, and Mrs. Henry.
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Community awareness and sponsorship grew this year exponentially this year. The team attracted additional mentors and services as well including continuing mentor Dick Chambers, Principle Engineer at Northrop, Harold Howell, Operations Engineer at NASA, Precision Machine and Engineering, Edo/Technical Services Operations, and former robotics members and parents. Our team’s robot, Gobstopper, competed at the Los Angeles Regional and placed 5th. We also competed at the National competition held in Atlanta, Georgia, and placed 12th out of 73 teams in one out of four divisions.
Our team was proud to accomplish the 3rd highest ranking, at 270 points, as well.
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This year our team continued the amazing growth of the previous year with an incredible sponsorship from HR Textron. The team comprised of 26 members put together a robot named “Mr. Clean,” in recognition of Nick Hayes, a member of the team who was struggling through chemotherapy. Mr. Clean placed first at the SCRRF Chatsworth Scrimmage Competition. Our team went on to compete in both the NASA sponsored Las Vegas Regional Competition, and the Atlanta, Georgia National Competition. Our team was also made stronger by the mentorship of the late Thomas Duggins, father of team member Tyler Duggins, who passed away unexpectedly at the Las Vegas Regional. He helped us to weld, laugh, and grow; the team will forever mourn his loss.
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The start of our seventh season was very rough for the entire robotics team. On August 31, 2005, the newly designated manufacturing leader, Tyler Duggins, son of departed mentor, Thomas Duggins, was tragically killed in a car accident on his way to school. During this time of grief, our team showed that they were truly a family pulling together to support each other during this time of grief and help fundraise for the Duggins family. In their memory, our team decided on the robot name “TnT”, Tyler and Thomas. Overcoming tragedy, our team pulled together more than ever before and successfully started a VEX team, along with competing in the Chesapeake and Las Vegas Regional Competitions; where our team took home the Spirit and Engineering Inspiration Award. The team motto was really felt by everyone this year, “FIRST we were a team, then we became a family.”
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With the addition of two new advisors, Mr. and Mrs. Wallace, our team worked especially hard prior to the six week build season to help foster science and technology in the community. We participated in several community activities to promote the robotics program such as Salute to Youth, the Air Show at Edwards Air Force Base, and VEX workshops for middle school students. Our team also invited elementary school kids to help with naming the robot. A 5th grader, Shane, won the contest and the team’s eighth robot was given the name “Buster 399.” The most exciting team achievement by far this year, was winning the prestigious Chairman’s Award at the Los Angeles Regional Competition. After becoming a finalist at the Philadelphia Regional, Eagle Robotics team members traveled to the International Competition in Atlanta to cap off an incredibly successful season.
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Despite the departure of the amazing Wallace duo, our team started this years’ robotics season in full force. We began by creating an outreach program reading to children at Barnes and Noble called “Robot Read-Alouds” and continued with the majority of team members mentoring Lego League teams throughout the community. Our team’s annual High Desert Lego Tournament grew 200% from the previous year.

Team members also went to middle schools throughout the community and gave presentations to expose them to the value of robotics. Our team also adopted a retired F-105 Thunderchief airplane at a local air park to clean monthly. This season, the robot was named “the Phantom”, which brought about an entire Phantom of the Opera theme. Our team competed at the San Diego and the Los Angeles Regionals. We won the prestigious Chairman’s Award for the second consecutive year in Los Angeles, which qualified the team for the Championships in Atlanta, GA. In Atlanta, our team mentored two girls from New Zealand, eager to start their own team, and handed out special “Hero Cards” to Dean Kamen and Woody Flowers.
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Eagle Robotics became even more active in the off season this year. We held several fundraisers including candy sales, a car wash, and a garage sale. Our team continued with our past community service and outreach programs, and planned new ones, including a workshop for Special Education students. FIRST’s game this year, Lunacy, provided several interesting challenges, including a field with no traction with the robots acting as goals. Despite these challenges, this season brought about our first regional win at the Colorado Regional. Our team also competed in the Los Angeles Regional, winning the Imagery Award for our colorful interpretation of our “Wizard of Oz” theme. Our robot, the Tinman, was also a finalist at the Championships on the Curie division, just one step away from the Einstein field.

This successful year saw the addition of new mentors; Sylvia Haro, Mary Reed, Julie Voracek, and Jeff Corbets, as well as the return of our many veteran mentors; John Armstrong, Rene Haro, Barbara Pawlak, Michael Reed, Justin Shores, and David Voracek.
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Following the success of our previous year, team 399 was excited to step up our game on all levels. Our team reached out on an international level, collecting shoes for Soles for Souls to help the victims of Haiti’s earthquake as well as donating school supplies to Love a Child Foundation. Continuing with our award winning Wizard of Oz theme, we named our robot, the Wizard, and competed in the Arizona and Colorado Regionals. For the first time, the team won the Innovation in Control Award sponsored by Rockwell Automation in Arizona and in Denver, the team was awarded the Engineering Inspiration award which qualified the team to go to the Championships in Atlanta, Georgia.

Our team made it to the quarter finals but lost to the winning Champion alliance. Our team also hosted our fourth annual RoboProm, a dance held for the students who miss their high school Prom attending robotics competitions. This year we had over 800 students from many teams gather to dance the night away.
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The 20th anniversary of FIRST was a monumental year for Eagle robotics. A high point came when our team was notified that we were a recipient of a Google Rise Award for promoting STEM and computer science education initiatives. This award allowed the team to expand their community outreach efforts with the addition of Lego workshops throughout the Antelope Valley. We also added a book drive in collaboration with our High Desert Lego Tournament. Contributions for the newly opened, Miller Elementary, were greatly appreciated by students and school officials alike.

This year, a spy theme was unveiled and team 399 named our robot “James Bot.” Our license to drill resulted in an award winning season, competing in three regional competitions for the first time ever. Unfortunately, in San Diego, James Bot began to “self destruct” when its arm broke in the finals during a match. At our next competition in Los Angeles, our team was awarded Excellence in Design for our Autodesk animation, Logobots saves the Likos, as well as Gracious Professionalism. Finally, in Utah, team 399 and alliance teams, 2122 and 3239, won the regional which qualified us to go the Championships in St. Louis. We were also winners of the prestigious Engineering Excellence award. Eagle robotics expanded their off season events and competed at IRI (Indiana Robotics Invitational) for their third consecutive year. We have made it our mission to spread science and technology and have fun while doing so.