• 11 Apr 2016 12:06 PM | Robert

    What a great tournament.... you all continue to amaze me with your dedication and effort for the team.  I saw so many fantastic things this tournament from our team.  Everywhere I looked I saw our team helping, cheering, competing.  We could not have been any better but I am sure we will try.

    I know that many of you are rightfully disappointed with how some of the awards turned out.  I am too, I have seen who you are and what are team does not only for itself and its alliance but also for FIRST in general.  You are are the best of examples of what being in FIRST is all about.  You gave it everything you had and it was impressive.

    Remember that you set your own standards and that success is only defined by your own standards.  If you did  the best you could do and you played at your best you are successful.  

    Our robot on the field was always watched by everyone.  They enjoyed seeing what we could and how we could play.  We were THE FORCE on the field.  We showed our grit time after time and played at the highest level we have ever played at.  Of course the final was disappointing and I am convinced that if our alliance would have had three robots playing we could have won.  We took a calculated gamble in playing without 2907 in the first match.  We knew we could win with them and probably not with the backup robot.  Many people forgot that 2907 lost all their tools and pit materials in the same trailer that 2406 lost their robot.  We simply could not go on without them.  

    My father used to say:  "What could have happened, did happen."   There is no point in pondering the ifs and whys and trying to blame anyone or anything.  We did a tremendous job on the field and I will never forget our 2nd to last match in quals when we were able to help our dead partner up onto the batter and then hang ourselves...  or 1425 "flying" back to get the batter in the elimination rounds with us.    

    There are many deserving teams in PNW for the Chairman's Award.  We are certainly among them.  This  year they chose to pick 3 other teams and not pick us.  This certainly does not mean we are not deserving or that somehow we "lost." Put yourself in the shoes of the judges and think about how hard it was for them to make their decision. 

    The quality of our team and our effort is not a function of someone else's standards on a given day.  Over and over our Chairman's team and the rest of the team have demonstrated that they are the premier team in the PNW and one of the best in the world.  Hold your heads up high because we are no different with the award or without it.. You have much to be proud of so don't judge yourselves by the awarding of a medal.

    I could not be more proud of a team than I am of you.  10 years ago I never envisioned that we would be making the kind of difference we make in our community.  Celebrate that... it is an amazing thing brought about by real work and commitment. 

    Now its on to the World Championship,  We are ready!!  We have the best team in all of FIRST in my mind and we will go out to St. Louis and show it again.

    Win or lose you have a great deal to be proud of.  Don't forget we did end up as #1  in points in all of PNW.  Everyone looks to us to lead and wants to be like us.

    Let's not let them down....  

    Go SKUNKS!!!

  • 07 Mar 2016 11:28 AM | Robert

    I want to start off by thanking some of those that really made this weekend special.  Big thanks to Bonnie for so many of the logistics for food and especially for getting the new mentor shirts done and distributed.  They looked great!! Thanks to all that loaded and transported our pit and equipment to Auburn. We had a great looking pit that took quite abit of wrangling to get loaded and transported.

    Thanks Steve Burke for your constant attention to detail so that we can continue to compete at the level of excellence that we are showing.  Thanks to all of the mentors and parents for their consistent and continuing support of all we do as a team.  Big thanks to Dave M and to Loren and the scouting team for all of the great data on how we need to face the opponents we saw on the field and work with our partners.   EVERYONE was terrific!!

    It was a fantastic weekend.... on and off the field.   I saw many teams that had parts that we helped with on the field and got many compliments and thanks for helping them be the best they could be.  This is really the best part of doing this, helping other teams be their best.

    On the field, we were functioning as well as any robot I saw the entire weekend. Consistency and excellent operation of the robot by our drive team and pit crews put us in a position to win on the field.  It was truly a team effort in that regard.  

    The strategies that we worked out at the beginning of the year really paid off.  We broke 4 defenses in every match we played in to get those ranking points that we needed.  Once we got the climb working it was the envy of every team there.

    My favorite thing all weekend was in match 62 when our partners had difficulties with their robots and we had to face three robots by ourselves.  Our drive team responded with a calm and efficient game plan and we did what we do best and managed to get a 1 point win.  You can see that match here:


    Our Chairman's team had a great presentation and got edged out for Chairman's by a great team (2557)  We will continue working and get ready for Central Washington and try for the Chairman's win there. 

    We are going to not only maintain the level of excellence that we showed this past weekend, but we are going to need to get better to continue winning.  Every team will be getting better and although we were very good... we have room for improvement.  Continued work and concentration will yield us even better results in the next competitions   We have made our first steps towards success.  Let's take a little breath... but then rejoin the work necessary to make us excellent.

    I am proud of everyone's efforts all weekend.  You should also take pride in what you do for the team.  Without EVERYONE doing their job we could not be successful.  

    Now....   back to work...!!

  • 29 Feb 2016 6:36 PM | Robert

    Just a note regarding Auburn Mountainview Assignments

    Pit Crew

    Patrick, Sidney, Lauren, Cooper  (Along with Ross and Benton)

    Thursday advance crew:  (for pit set up and inspection)  Need to arrive with the trailer to bring in robot and pit set up.

    Pit Crew plus Loren, Maryam and Alexis

    That is all....


  • 28 Feb 2016 3:20 PM | Robert

    It is another long Sunday and the team is to be commended for finishing strong.

    We have just two more nights before we put everything into our trailer and travel to Auburn Mountainview to try out our new robot   "Ex-Caliper".

    Those of you that were with us for the weekend know that we have really been under the gun the last few days.  Our efforts in driver practice on Friday showed several flaws in the robot that had to be taken care of.   This is good... breaking things BEFORE competition is not a bad thing.... it shows us where we can improve so that we can have less mechanical issues at competition.  

    Finding the problems and fixing them was a good thing.  What was not so good is that we were unable to have everyone practice and try out the way we had originally planned.   If you were here on Saturday you know we all got together to look at the situation and hear comments.  We decided to try and make the robot as ready as we could possibly make it.  

    Picking a drive team is always a difficult thing.  It is about a number of factors and team members need to understand that the process starts at the beginning of the season and a great deal of it has nothing to do with driving.   In fact, we make assessments based on a team member's entire career on the team.

    There are always many people that qualify as good candidates for the drive team.

    They cannot, obviously, be all part of it every year.   If we choose to drive by committee we choose to not be our best on the field and our team's goal is to absolutely put our best on the field and off the field every year.

    To those of you that are not on the drive team, you all need to realize that we are all part of the same big team.  When everyone performs their duties and are great team mates, we ALL succeed.  In every sense, what you see on the field is a synthesis of EVERYONE's efforts and you all have big reasons to be proud.

    This being said, and after consultation among several mentors and others, I have had to make a choice for the drive team for Auburn Mountainview and the rest of the season.    Our driver will be Ross and our robot operator will be Benton. Given everything, this was a difficult decision but I hope you all will congratulate Ross and Benton and help them be as successful as we can.  They will need your help to be the best they can be.    We will be choosing Human Players this week but we need to have this drive team working together along with me to figure out our strategies and how we will attack the game on the field.

    Again, Congratulations to you all for your magnificent work so far this season. It is going to be a great ride and I look forward to great things!!!

    Go Skunks


  • 23 Feb 2016 11:19 AM | Robert

    Well, we are about to put another robot into its bag for competition.

    I am extremely happy with the way the entire team has pulled together and put a great product out there.  Not only do we have a competitive robot, but we have great products from the Chairman's Teams,   a fantastic media effort both in print and in video production,  an enthusiastic approach to our community and business outreach events and in general an awesome effort from the team this year.

    I would be remiss to not mention  just a few of the great mentors and team members that have gone above and beyond and helped us along the way.  Ken, Gloria and the design team have bird-dogged the design all of the way and we have a very robust robot that is very successful in carrying out our key performance parameters.  We will continue to tweak it and make it better but we go to the field in Auburn with a solid robot.  

    Programming mentors and team members have worked diligently and our robot will perform the way it needs to on the field.  This is also a continuing process and I know we will do more as the season progresses.  

    Patrick and Loren and others put in yeoman's work and spent countless hours assembling (and un-assembling) and re-assembling the robot as we found small things that needed to be made better so that the design can come to fruition. 

    It may seem difficult sometimes to make the small changes now, but this will pay off big time as the season progresses and we see other robots around us break and not be able to be fixed.  We will certainly run into some of our own problems but the attention to detail that we are displaying now will pay big benefits during competitions. 

    The electronics layout is simply the best and cleanest that we have every produced and the hours of refinement and planning that went into it were well worth it.  Thanks need to be given to Mr. DeSilva and the electronics team members for getting that done.

    I have to mention that the bumpers look awesome!!  Mr Bajocich and the team members that helped there have done a magnificent job.  Everyone will certainly like our wonderful clean bumpers... we will have to dirty them up a little... but they will stay together and serve us well.

    The media group (Alexis and Mr. Smith and the team members) have put together a great team image this year that is well thought out and really puts us on a different level from other teams in how we have integrated the them of this year into our designs and our brand.  Videos have been produced and other teams will take notice of us in many ways.

    I can go on and on.... we are producing at a very high level of excellence in almost everything we do this year.   I cannot be more proud of your efforts and I just want us to continue.  Everyone on the team shares in the accomplishments.

    We are perched on the brink of a new competitive season,  You should all be very proud of what you have accomplished. but don't just rest on your laurels and coast.  We have much to do

    We need to strive for excellence, on and off the field, Be the best you can be. 

    We want to be the team that helps everyone and can be seen having a great time being in FIRST.  Win or lose we need to show the spirit of FIRST.  

    Remember that good is the enemy of great.   Good enough is not what we do. 

    Thank you all for choosing to be part of our team, parents, mentors, and students.   We have much to be proud of and still much to do.

    See you all on the field!!!


  • 06 Jan 2016 11:15 AM | Robert

    Welcome back after a well-deserved respite from school and robotics.

    I am looking forward to getting started with all of you on the new game "Stronghold"   We will find out this weekend what that means.

    I think that the strength of our team lies in our ability to all work together and get things done.  Often it is easy to let someone else do something.  To just "Let things happen to oneself."   The mark of successful individuals and teams is that they "MAKE things happen" and not just let them happen.

    Try and be a part of that during the Robotics season this year.  When something needs to get done, accept the challenge and take it on.   If you need help you can always get it from another student or a mentor.  Don't be afraid of taking on new things.  Mistakes can be your friend and they are truly one of the best ways to learn.  Listen to advice from more experienced individuals and benefit from it.

    Listening is one of the arts of communication that is often overlooked.  Be a listener and then when you have something to say, others will listen to you too.

    Remember that their are many small steps in getting to any large goal.  There is no shortcut to excellence, it is earned.  Our team has been able to benefit from making plans and carrying them out even though sometimes we seem to be going very slowly.  In the end we have a superior product and we have also all learned how to be better

    Good luck this year ...  I am proud to be your coach and proud to work with all of you.   

    This is the year where ...   "THE SKUNK AWAKENS...."

  • 10 Dec 2015 5:35 PM | Robert


    This is Coach Steele and this is my first post in the new Coach's Corner.

    Welcome to all who visiting and everyone on the team.  I want to particularly thank Alexis Chavez, Rachel Demaree and mentor Jim Smith for putting together this exciting new website.  It would not be fair to forget about all that went before who are too numerous to mention other than I want to thank Julie Zaballos for her hard work in the initial phases of our website.  Under her tutelage we won many awards for our website.   This new website promises to give us a new way to interact with all of our friends and family. 

    From time to time I will be posting comments here regarding the team's efforts and philosophy.  Hopefully they will act to inspire and inform those that read them.  Please don't hesitate to contact me personally if you have any questions. Everyone's ideas are welcome!!

    Well on to the work of having a robotics team.

    For all of you friends and parents out there.  WELCOME

    For all of you team members..... GET BACK TO WORK.... :0)

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