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Teams,

As we approach the start of regional tournaments I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about how the tournaments determine awards winners and which teams advance on to the Championship Tournament.  This is a long explanation but I hope it will answer many of the questions that we get each year about awards and advancing.
 
The number of teams advancing is determined based on the number of teams in each division at each tournament.  The same percentage of teams is used for all tournaments and for both divisions (so the more teams in a division, the more teams advance).  The percentage is based on the total space that we have at the Championship tournament so we cannot accept additional teams.  Each tournament also receives awards to give out based on the number of teams in each division at their tournament. 
 
FIRST Lego League has a policy that teams can only receive one judged award (and all awards are considered judged except for the robot performance award) so the only way for a team to win 2 awards is for one of them to be robot performance.  All tournaments will have 1st place Champion, Robot Performance, Robot Design, Research Project and Core Values but some tournament will have additional awards (2nd places and/or Judge awards), depending on the number of teams in each division.  All awards are handled separately for each division.  All award decisions are made by the judges in a deliberation process where all teams are discussed.
 
The robot performance award is based on each team's top score.  Championship awards and the three judging areas are based on the judging performance (teams are ranked against each other and discussed during judge deliberations).  These rankings are NOT released to the teams (a FIRST policy) but we will return the judge comment forms to the teams at the end of the tournament.  In addition to performing best overall across all three judging areas, a team should be in the top 40% of robot performance scores to win the Championship award.
 
Advancement is based on the same criteria as the championship awards.  The team(s) that perform the best overall for the three judging areas and are in the top 40% on robot performance will advance (the number advancing determined by the number of teams in a division at a tournament).  This may mean that if more than one team in a division advances, a team that did not win any awards may advance if they did better overall than some of the teams that won in specific areas. It may also mean that a team that wins an award does not advance if they did not do as well in other judging events and/or there are not enough advancing spots available.  Tournament directors do not determine how many advance (we dictate that to them) and cannot add additional teams.
 
I hope this helps explain the process for those who are unsure.  The best way to understand it though is to go through it so I recommend that those interested in experiencing it firsthand volunteer to judge at an event.  It is NOT a conflict of interest to volunteer at an event that your team is not participating in and we're an all-volunteer organization that runs on a not-so-small army so we're always looking for more help.  You can submit a volunteer interest form and find more information at http://va-dcfll.org/volunteer/volunteer-form/ or you can contact the tournament director directly for an event that you’re interested in helping at.
 
Thanks and we look forward to seeing the almost 500 teams that are signed up for the 25 regionals in November.  It should be an exciting season!
 
Karen
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Karen Berger
VA/DC FLL Regional Tournament Coordinator
Newport News and Norfolk Regional Tournament Director


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