This years competition is Destination: Deep Space. This was picked because it is the 50th anniversary of the moon landing in 1969. The overall goal of this season is to


The competition for 2018 was Power Up. This game takes place in an “8 bit world”, where the goal is to collect power up cubes and put them on a balance to gain possession and earn points with your alliance during the match. At the end of the match, the robots are to climb up to the top of a beam to gain even more points. Robots can also exchange the cubes with a human player, who puts the cubes in the vault. This gives the alliance additional points.


2017’s game was Steamworks.  One of the goals of this seasons game was to fuel the airship, by putting the balls into either the high or low goal of the boiler. Another main goal of this seasons game was to put gears on pegs. The 2 human players in the airship then pull the peg up and place the gear to start the rotors on the airship.At the last 30 seconds, the robots were to climb up ropes on the airship to enter.


  • 2017 Excellence in Engineering Award


2016’s game was called stronghold. The goal of this years competition was to cross the defenses and obstacles in the middle of the field (such as moats, walls, or lift gate doors),  shoot the boulder into the castle with your robot, and scale the castle at the end of the match.


2015’s game was Recycle Rush, which was a major departure from previous FRC games. The goal of the game was to stack totes on top of each other, put recycling cans on top of the totes, and then place pool noodles (representing litter) inside the cans.

The robot the Lancers built for this game employed a combination of extraordinarily unique mechanisms. From the innovative “forktruck” drivetrain and the completely hollow robot interior to the modified grasshopper linkage lift mechanism and the passively actuated claws, The Boxinator operated beautifully during the St. Louis Regional competition.


2014’s game (Aerial Assist) could be summed up in a single word: assists. While the overall primary method of scoring points was shooting balls into goals, assisting other robots in doing the same results in huge bonuses for the alliance.

The robot  Lightning 1444 built for Aerial Assist, Vortex, was considered the loudest robot on the field by most of the other teams and officials at the St. Louis Regional. Determined to think outside the box, the Lancers departed from the common “catapult” design for their launcher and built a massive cannon that fired the game pieces across the field with tremendous power. Unfortunately, the incredible energy unleashed by Vortex smashed several important welds on the cannon’s frame and damaged our ranking at the regional.


  • Dean’s List Finalist: Brandon Sanders (St. Louis Regionals)
  • Best Design from Team 279 (Unofficial)


2013 was a pretty good year for  Lightning 1444. For the first time, C++ was a programming language of choice, and it shortened the amount of time spent of programming by several times. However, FIRST updated the C++ compiler at the last minute, resulting in a robot with a lot of buggy programming. Despite this, we did fairly well at the St. Louis Regionals, getting picked to be on the alliance that ended up placing second.

The 2013 game (Ultimate Ascent) involved shooting 12in frisbees into goals to score points. At the end, robots could climb a wireframe pyramid to earn bonus points.


  • Competition Finalist (St. Louis Regionals)


The 2012 game (Rebound Rumble) involved shooting small basketballs into goals and then cooperating with other robots, both allied and opposing, to balance on ramps.

The Lightning Lancers did fairly well in 2012. We were the only alliance to attempt to balance on the ramp in the St. Louis Regionals, and we almost succeeded at it, too.


2011 was another pretty good year for the team. The name of the game was Logo Motion and the game element were inner tubes shaped in the FIRST logo symbols on a rack, similar to the game of tic-tac-toe.


  • Industrial Design Award (St. Louis Regionals)


In 2010, our team won the St. Louis Regionals Team Spirit award, and was awarded “Best Goalie” by Team #279. Thank you!

Our final standing at the St. Louis regional was 31st. The game was titled Breakaway, and was a soccer-type game, requiring robots to drive over or under bumps in the middle of the field.

The 2010 robot is the only one equipped with pneumatics, which was used to power the mechanism that kicked the ball. The robot has eight wheels arranged in four bogies, allowing it to climb a bump in the middle of the field without tipping. It also has suspension that allows it to raise 4 wheels off the ground, so it can turn more easily. It is the shortest robot we have ever built.


  • Team Spirit Award (St. Louis Regionals)
  • Best Goalie from Team 279 (Unofficial)


The 2009 game (Lunacy) involved driving over a slick surface whilst trying to shoot balls into trailers pulled by other robots. Unfortunately, our team made a few miscalculations concerning gearing and motors, resulting in a slow robot with an ineffective shooting mechanism.  We placed 20th, ending with five wins and six losses.

One of the best things about the 2009 robot was its “planetary gearbox” that could eat a plastic fork. The robot no longer works, due to missing programming. It is the tallest robot without extending a boom.


Lightning 1444 followed up the 2007 season with a finalist placing and another undefeated record in the St. Louis Regionals, not to mention a Judges’ Award. The team placed second with nine wins.

The game was titled FIRST Overdrive, and involved carrying 10 pound balls around a track.


  • Competition Finalist (St. Louis Regionals)
  • Judges Award (St. Louis Regionals)


2007 was a great year for Lightning 1444 . The team finished the St. Louis Regionals in first place, undefeated over nine matches, resulting in a ticket to Nationals, held again in Atlanta. Unfortunately, we did not do nearly as well at nationals, ending up in 61st and winning only a single match.

The game was called Rack n’ Roll. The robot’s job was to place circular tubes on a scoring rack in the center of the field. It’s been called the “best-looking robot.” The robot is equipped with a two-speed transmission, which won it the GM Industrial Design award.

  • Competition Winner (St. Louis Regionals)
  • GM Industrial Design Award (St. Louis Regionals)


In 2006, Lightning 1444 won the St. Louis Regional Johnson & Johnson Sportsmanship award for helping Team #1315 Robot Knights (now disbanded) with their programming. This had an unfortunate side effect, as the wrong program was accidentally loaded on our own robot, causing it to malfunction.

The game was called Aim High, and required robots to shoot balls into goals about ten feet high. The team itself ended up third with ten wins and two losses.


  • Johnson & Johnson Sportsmanship Award (St. Louis Regionals)


In 2005,  Lightning 1444  were chosen to be on the winning alliance for the St. Louis Regionals and got to attend the 2005 Nationals, held in Atlanta, GA. The team came in 21st overall at Regionals, with a 3-win/2-loss record.

At Nationals, the team again came in 21st in the Archimedes division, ending with 4 wins, 2 losses, and 1 tie.

The game was called Triple Play and required robots to place triangular shaped “Tetras” on top of goals.

  • Competition Winner (St. Louis Regionals)


Lightning 1444 (FIRST Team #1444) were initiated in 2004 with ten team members. Unlike the other robots, the 2004 robot no longer exists, and its parts have been reused.

One problem facing the team that year was lack of good tools. The robot did not work well: “it was a pain, heavy, and weak,” its claw had to be removed due to the robot being overweight, and the telescoping arm’s chains kept binding. So many lightening holes were drilled in it that it has been described as whistling.

The game was titled FIRST Frenzy and involved lifting balls into and capping goals.  Because of the missing claw, it could only attempt to block other robots from scoring or lift itself onto the pull-up bar for a 50 points bonus (and the only time it actually ever succeeded in lifting itself was after the competition).

At least the team avoided last, coming in 46th place at the Regional, with 1 win and 5 losses.