With the end of the regular FIRST Robotics Competition season fast approaching, we’re looking ahead to the New England District Championship! Watch the event trailer and check out some preliminary information to help your team be prepared for an invitation to the largest NE FIRST competition ever:
1. It’s at the BIG E!
We are excited to take the 2022 New England District Championship (NECMP) to the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Massachusetts! The Big E hosts the largest fair in New England, and in fact the largest agricultural fair on the East Coast, so it’s the perfect spot to host the largest FRC event in New England too. This large venue offers lots of space for competition fields and team pits, as well as ease of parking, especially for trailers and buses. It’s centrally located in New England, only an average of 2 hours from a majority of our teams.
2. It’s hosting 80 teams!
The new location of NECMP and the space that comes with it lets us do something brand new, never before done in New England: we will be having a two-field district championship. This allows each field to function like a normal district with 40 teams, while bringing in more than 40% of all NE FRC teams to compete at our highest local level.
While the event will not be open to the general public, we are excited to confirm that there will be no limit to the number of team members that may attend NECMP. Official policies will be posted soon, but we are excited to see everyone there! Hosting two fields means two District Championship divisions. For specific information on how teams will be assigned to a division, see sections 11.8.2 and 11.8.3 of the FRC RAPID REACT Game Manual (pages 17-19 of this Tournament section, marked pages 125-127). The winning alliances of each division will play each other to determine the New England District Champions for 2022!
3. It will qualify some teams for the FIRST World Championship in Houston! Normally New England teams compete at the FIRST World Championship in Detroit, two weeks after the NECMP. This year, there is only one World Championship event, so New England teams are officially going to Houston for the very first time. New England will send 25 FRC teams to Houston. Since the FIRST World Championship is the weekend directly after our event at The Big E, FIRST has allowed NE FIRST to adjust the typical ways in which teams qualify for Worlds because of the very quick turnaround. This year, all cultural award winners will be announced before NECMP begins. This means we will know the 3 Chairman’s Award Winners, 2 Engineering Inspiration Award Winners, and 1 Rookie All-Star Winner in advance of the NECMP competition! Then, the next 16 teams with the highest points from the New England District Rankings before NECMP will be able to advance to the FIRST World Championship. Check in on the official district rankings report as district events in New England progress. The final 3 teams will be the ones with the highest number of points at the conclusion of the District Championship. Any of the 6 cultural award winners and 16 teams that qualify for Worlds may still attend NECMP, but they may also choose to focus their efforts on Houston directly and opt out of competing at the New England District Championship.
4. It will be important to plan ahead!
With all of this in mind, it can be helpful to plan early for qualification. We suggest getting permission early so when an invitation comes through, it’s easy for you to say YES quickly! Things to consider:
Prepare with your school district or organizing body now to travel in April. Does your Board of Education have a travel agreement to fill out? Do you have your 4-H safety plan for out-of-state or overnight travel? Having these documents ready in advance will save time and relieve stress.
Budget appropriately. The registration fee for NECMP is $4,000, and you may need to travel without the help of a school bus if you are leaving your state to compete. To help with some of this planning, we have identified these hotels for early booking.
You may have to make a choice. Some teams will qualify for NECMP and the FIRST World Championship. Letting NE FIRST know as soon as possible if you plan to skip NECMP to go to Houston can help another team make it to NECMP.
Be ready! If you are near the bubble you may get an invite as teams choose not to attend the District Championship in favor of going to Houston. We don’t know how far down the rankings an invitation will make it!
The official Welcome Packet for NECMP will be available in early April, but in the meantime take a sneak peek at the event schedule and information, get ready to rapidly react to your invitation…and GET EXCITED!