By Maddy VitaleA group of local middle school students who formed their own robotics club are taking their talents to another galaxy.Well, no. But they are heading to Louisville, Ky., for the VEX Robotics World Championship competition at the end of April.The Linbots, aptly named since four of the five members live in Linwood, won the “Middle School Excellence Award,” beating out another middle school at a Feb. 23 state competition in Cherry Hill.The kids set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds to purchase parts for the robots and pay for competition registrations.To donate, go to https://www.gofundme.com/worlds-funding-linbots-nj-vex-robotics-2019Team Linbots from left, Alex Savov and his sister, Emma, Farley O’Brien and Nate Fontana all share a moment after their state win. (Courtesy the O’Briens)Emma Savov, 14, her brother, Alex, 11, and Farley O’Brien, 13, all of Linwood, and Nate Fontana, 13, of Somers Point, worked together over the last year to create a robot that they use in competitions. The robot is called 92018A, named for the date the team started building the robot.The world competition that the team has been preparing for entails several tasks, including guiding a robot down platforms, around a course and everything from balls and plastic caps are maneuvered by the kid-made machines. Judges score the teams. According to the VEX Robotics website www.vexrobotics.com it is the largest and fastest growing middle school and high school robotics program globally with more than 20,000 teams from 50 countries playing in over 1,700 competitions worldwide. Each year, an engineering challenge is presented in the form of a game.Specifically, the Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation seeks to increase student interest and involvement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by engaging students in hands-on sustainable and affordable curriculum-based robotics engineering programs across the U.S. and internationally, the website states. Here is a Feb. 15 demonstration of the Linbots robot:Linbots won three competitions over the past year. The last one led them to qualify for the world competition. They will join other middle and high school-age students for fierce, but friendly competition. The competition is designed to showcases the young talents and their knack for engineering, problem solving and collaboration, the website states. Nate, Farley, Alex and Emma, explained their love of engineering and science and the robotics team.Nate, who wants to be an aerospace engineer, said of the experience, “I am happy that everything went well at the competition on Saturday. I’m really looking forward to representing the state in the world competition.”Farley, whose parents, Liz and Kevin O’Brien, are engineers, said she may want to pursue engineering or writing. She called the Linbots’ experience incredible. “It has been a great journey and it’s so incredible that we’ve made it this far,” Farley said. “It is amazing to see what a group of friends can do when they work hard at something.”Emma, who likes the design aspect of robotics the most, said she hopes the Linbots inspire other young people.“We would like to inspire young people in our community through innovation, perseverance, and teamwork,” she said. Alex, who hopes to become a marine scientist, said the experience has been challenging at times, but worth it.“It has been a challenging experience figuring out how everything works,” he noted. “We did not have all the answers, but working well together as a team and spending long hours paid off.” They all said they like working together to create projects . They learn from each other since they all have specific strengths.For the Linbots, who created their own team because their schools did not have one, arriving at the world championship has a particular significance. Not only did they excel amongst children their own age, but also against students in high school. Here is the VEX Robotics demonstration of world competition: Team Linbots work together Feb. 15 to make sure their robot is ready for a competition. From left, Alex Savov, Nate Fontana, Farley O’Brien and Emma Savov.
Enid M. (Griffiths) Lyford, 98 of Milan and formerly of England passed away at her home on Saturday June 16, 2018. Enid was born March 5, 1920 in Riseley, England the daughter of Fredrick and Charlotte (Dickens) Griffiths. She was married to Edward George Lyford who preceded her in death in 1966. Enid worked for the government and also was an apprentice recruiter for the RAE. She was a member of the Women’s Institute and British Legion. She enjoyed gardening and her family. Enid is survived by her daughters: Wendy Billings of Chilhowie, VA; Lesley Holbert of Milan. brother: Desmond Griffiths of Woolstone Milton Keynes, England; sister: Jean Pople Paulet of Somerset, England. 4 Grandchildren: Dale and Glen Holbert, Lesley Roark and Paul Dembaugh. 6 Great-Grandchildren, 2 Great-Great Grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband; son: Timothy Lyford in 2013; 1 Grandson: Larry Dembaugh Jr. Services will be at the convenience of the family. Memorials may be given to the Diabetes Association or Multiple Sclerosis. Laws-Carr-Moore Funeral Home of Milan is entrusted with arrangements; P.O. Box 243, Milan, IN 47031. You may go to www.lawscarrmoore.com to leave an online condolence for the family.
No. 1 UC Irvine upended the No. 2 USC men’s volleyball team in straight sets to win the NCAA championship Saturday with scores of 25-22, 34-32 and 26-24, marking the second national title in four years for the Anteaters. An announced crowd of 9,162 made its way to the Galen Center — the third-highest in NCAA championship match history.Nail biter · Though the Trojans lost in straight sets to No. 1 UC Irvine in the NCAA championship game, the match was a fierce back-and-forth contest from beginning to end. · Razan Al Marzouqi | Daily TrojanSaturday’s match was a rematch of the five-set loss to the Anteaters in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation semifinals little more than a week ago and of the 2009 national championship match. The Anteaters were the preseason favorites to win the title, and the Trojans were picked to finish fifth in the conference in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year.“People can see a three-game sweep as a blowout, but two deuce sets say otherwise,” USC senior outside hitter and co-captain Tony Ciarelli said. “We played them great. On paper we don’t match up with them — they’re the deepest team in the country and have several guys on the bench who could be ‘the guy’ anywhere else.”The match, which was decided by a combined seven points, was a fierce back-and-forth battle from start to finish, including a 34-32 second set where USC started ahead 14-7. But a 12-4 run by UC Irvine gave the Anteaters the lead for the first time in the set at 19-18. With a series of scramble plays — including a behind-the-head shot from Ciarelli and a huge kill off of a scramble play from redshirt sophomore opposite Tanner Jansen — the emotional roller coaster of dropping a seven-point lead and losing the set after an epic finish took the wind out of the Trojans’ sails.UC Irvine opposite and NCAA tournament Most Outstanding Player Carson Clark led all players with 22 kills earned at a phenomenal .465 hitting percentage. His strength at the service line kept the Trojan offense out of sync for most of the night, and his ability to score efficiently from all over the court proved to be too much for the Trojans.The Anteaters are known throughout college volleyball as relentless attackers of the middle of the court through the “bic” set, a quick tempo set designed to keep opposing middle blockers at bay while deciding whether to jump with the first middle attacker, the “bic” hitter or closing to either outside spot.“We attacked Penn State in the middle of the court relentlessly in the semifinals, and we figured USC wouldn’t let us do that tonight,” said UC Irvine coach John Speraw. “Tonight we had to be better at the pins with Clark, [Connor] Hughes and [Kevin] Tillie.”The Trojans quelled the charge from Tillie and the “bic” as well as the middle attack, but the Anteaters’ depth proved to be too much to handle. Hughes poured in 13 kills from the outside hitter spot along with Clark’s monster day to give the Anteaters the boost they needed.“Our goal was to stop [UC Irvine outside hitter Kevin] Tillie and we absolutely did,” Ciarelli said. “But Clark picked up his game — this was the first time he hit over .250 in probably my four years here because we’ve tried so hard to stop him in the past.”The Trojans were not able to control the Anteaters’ serving attack, finishing with an uncharacteristic six receiving errors. As a result, the Trojans could not keep the Anteater defense honest with the quick middle attack that was so efficient for them in the past. High sets to the outside hitters became the only option on many occasions, leaving the Trojan hitters with a fully set defense to beat on many occasions.Despite hitting into the full force of the UC Irvine defense all night long, Ciarelli, an NCAA All-Tournament selection, finished with a team-high 18 kills in a gutsy effort.“On a broader scale, the level of play and fan support were unbelievable,” USC coach Bill Ferguson said. “I hope everyone involved understands what this does for the sport of volleyball — there has never been an atmosphere like this at a national championship game before and took college volleyball to a new level.”