Rocket champs: Local schools place in rocketry competition

Four teams from Franklin County advanced to the National Team America Rocketry Challenge Competition, held May 12.

Russellville High School sent three teams, all of which placed in the top 25. Team 1 placed 22nd with a score of 84.36. Team 2 placed 25th with a score of 103.12. Team 3 placed third with a score of 26.

According to RHS instructor Donna Sykes, the wind change affected one of their launches, but students were incredibly supportive of each other and rooting for everyone.

“They were super-duper excited the whole day and just bouncing off of the walls,” Sykes said. “They worked so well together. When they were calling out the names of the top teams, they were all holding hands and encouraging each other.”

Team 3, or the “Lions,” won $12,000 to be split among the five team members and $1,000 for the school for the third-place overall win.

Sykes said the students told her next year they are shooting for the world competition.

Tharptown High School’s all-girl team placed 33rd out of 100 with a total score of 151.84. According to the team’s mentor Marsha Inmon, their first launch was successful, and the weather was perfect with low winds. However, their second launch faltered when the rocket malfunctioned and separated early because of drag created by the heavier winds.

“I was heartbroken for the girls but so proud of them,” Inmon said. “We are all very excited about next year. We are looking at adding a third team because so many kids are interested in the rocket program.”

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