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Lording Over The Lego League

Garden City Lego teams dominate

qualifying tournaments

It was a successful rookie year for Garden City’s Crazy Creators, one of several Garden City FIRST LEGO League (FLL) teams to snap up awards at the 10th annual Long Island FLL Qualifying Tournament, held on Feb. 1 in Central Islip. The Crazy Creators walked away with two of the 12 awards: First place for ‘Robot Performance,’ which is given to the team with the highest score in the tournament’s robot game, and first place for ‘Programming,’ which is given for innovative programming of the robot used in the competition.

Under the guidance of coach Ken Ambach and mentor Dino Stamidis, fourth-graders Charlie Ambach, Julian Bubniak, Max Sclafani and Nicholas Stamidis, who all attend Stratford Elementary, along with Riley Sanz, a student at St. Anne’s,  tackled this year’s theme of ‘Nature’s Fury.’ The teams were challenged to build, test and program a self-directed LEGO robot that could complete a series of missions on a specially-designed obstacle course dealing with a natural disaster, and dream up and present an invention to help people in the event of a catastrophe.

For the project component of the competition, the Crazy Creators decided to focus on earthquakes, specifically the 125th Street fault line in Manhattan. After extensive research, the team invented a debris-clearing machine that would enable rescuers to help those trapped in rubble in densely populated areas, conditions that would exist if a New York earthquake were to occur. As the team discovered, it could very well happen in New York City, as it happened back in 1884, when a tremor struck Brooklyn’s Coney Island.

The Crazy Creators brought their invention and robot to Central Islip Senior High School, site of this year’s FLL Qualifying tournament, where 109 teams competed from across Long Island. In the robot game, teams operated their Lego NXT Robots in several matches against each other in the school’s gymnasium. Divided into groups of two, they raced the clock to complete several tasks in two-and-a-half minutes, on tables containing the obstacle course. Points were awarded based on Lego pieces used for the project (no outside materials are allowed) as well as the successful completion of several pre-assigned tasks.  A new ‘alliance’ match, introduced in this year’s competition, required teams to double up to run the missions together.

In addition to the matches, each team also met with judges in breakout sessions to discuss their work and answer questions about their project, their robot and programs, and complete a teamwork challenge. The Crazy Creators presented a LEGO model of their invention, the Rubble Rescuer, and described how their invention featured an infrared sensor to help it detect humans in rubble, as well as a conveyor belt to help haul away debris.  

Coach Ambach said of the day, “What an amazing morning. We are so proud of the team today. From our innovative project model and presentation to our simple yet highly effective robot, each boy contributed to the success of the team. As a young rookie team, they wildly exceeded all of our expectations and we are thrilled with the results.”

The Crazy Creators weren’t the only winning Garden City team on Saturday. The Thunder Chickens, under coach Kim DeMaro and assistant Martha Yasso, captured the tournament’s highest honor, the first place ‘Champion’s Trophy,’ while the Robotic Rebels, led by Coach Steve Giammona, rounded out the pack by winning the second-place ‘Champion’s Award.’ In the afternoon competition, the Garden City Middle School team, also in its first year of competition, won first place for ‘Robot Performance’ under the guidance of Coach Mike Stano.

With these wins, the teams advance to the next round, the SBPLI-LI FIRST Championship Tournament, to be held at Longwood High School on March 2. The teams invite you to come out and cheer on all of the Robotic League teams. Those interested in learning more about the Garden City Robotic League should contact Garden City Robotic League Director Trish Lynch at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

News

In an earlier column, Mayor John Watras shared some helpful tips on how to secure your property in preparation for a hurricane. The following are additional recommendations on what you can do now to be prepared in the event that a major storm hits Long Island.

As the storm approaches, customers should take the following steps to prepare for the arrival of either a hurricane or tropical storm:

New online company debuts

Two Long Island childhood friends, Scott Reich and Michael Winik, recently left their respective careers as an attorney and investment banker to pursue their dream of starting a business together, online food market OurHarvest.

“When Mike and I decided to start a business, we knew it had to reflect our shared love of food, address the lifestyles of our fellow Long Islanders, and be socially responsible,” said Reich.


Sports

Stretching tips for the high school athlete

Prior to the start of high school running season, Garden City’s Physical Therapy Options (PTO) had an opportunity to provide a presentation to members of Sacred Heart Academy’s cross country team. Team members gathered at Garden City’s New York Running Company to learn strategies and tips for a successful fall season.

PTO staff members Dr. Meghan Goetz, Doctor of Physical Therapy, and PTO Aide Mike Murphy discussed the importance of stretching to prevent injury and provided strategies and tips for success for the high school runner.

The league started on Saturday, Sept. 13 at Garden City’s Tullamore Park. It runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. A uniform shirt and soccer balls are provided. Cleats and soccer shorts are recommended and players must wear shin guards. Age groups range from pre-k through 12th grade. Garden City residents and non-Garden City residents are welcome. Middle school and high school age volunteers are needed. No soccer experience is necessary. If you have any other questions, please contact Andy Garger at ajgarger@verizon.net or 516-775-8058.

— Submitted by the Challenger Soccer League


Calendar

Garden City High School Homecoming

Saturday, October 25

Marvelous Movie Matinée

Monday, October 27

A Map Of Artistic Inspiration

Saturday, November 1



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com