Two Howard teams in rocketry competition

Va. contest draws Long Reach, Lime Kiln

May 18, 2007|By John-John Williams IV | John-John Williams IV,sun reporter

Teams representing two Howard County schools will compete in The Plains, Va., tomorrow for the national finals of the Team America Rocketry Challenge.

Lime Kiln Middle School and Long Reach High School will compete against 98 other teams from across the nation for a chance at $60,000 in prizes.

The competition, which is billed as the world's largest, attracted 7,000 students on 690 teams this year. The contest is open to students in seventh through 12th grades.

Transport an egg

Teams are required to design, build and test a model rocket that can transport a raw egg. The rockets are expected to reach 850 feet, remain airborne for 45 seconds, and return the egg to the ground unbroken.

The five-member team from Lime Kiln competed last year but did not reach the finals.

"It makes me feel great," said the team's adult adviser David Zuchero, a parent. "They have done a great job, and they can compete against the high school kids with no problem."

Lime Kiln's all-eighth grade team includes Ben Gulliford, Michael Peters, Corey Schwab, Tommy Zhang and Matt Zuchero.

The team from Long Reach includes Stephanie Spring, Lindsey Zettel, Matt McKenna, Tommy Trinh and Jake Esposito. Zettel predicted that her team will earn at least a top-10 finish.

Bob Hawthorne, Long Reach's adviser, said the competition is an excellent way for students to learn hands-on lessons in aero- dynamics.

"These kids have spent over 100 hours designing, building, flying, failing and going through the design process with remarkable persistence to succeed," Hawthorne said in a statement.

Confidence voiced

Zuchero said his young group has spent the past weeks making corrections. The team is confident despite a rough series of launches this past weekend.

"We broke some eggs, parachutes tangled," Zuchero said. "We had a couple of bad flights this weekend. We talked about the importance of checklists. I think they are ready."

john-john.williams@baltsun.com

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