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CB&S Bank celebrates local rocketry teams in advance of nationals

CB&S Bank honored Russellville and Tharptown’s rocketry teams Monday evening with a public reception to celebrate their successes as they prepare to blast off to the American Rocketry Challenge May 14, the world’s largest rocket contest, at Great Meadow in The Plains, Va.

For CB&S Bank President Mike Ross, it’s all about encouraging the teams and shining a light on what they have accomplished already.

“We congratulate both the teams. I’m in awe of what they have achieved already, and I wish them the best as they advance to the next level,” Ross said. “We are excited to have them here at the bank tonight.”

The two FC teams are among 101 teams from 27 states who qualified for the national competition. The teams, which are student-led, will compete for $100,000 in prizes and the title of national champion.

The national champion team will win an all-expenses paid trip to London to compete for the international title.

Neither local school is new to the national rocketry scene.

In this past year’s national competition, RHS fielded two teams, and both placed – RHS Team One ranking fifth and RHS Team Two placing 35th.

Russellville rocketry team members include juniors Seth Burns and Carrie Ruth Jackson and sophomores Carson McCalpin, Dalton Ridge and Shiloh Willis. Team mentor is Tracy Burns.

“I’m incredibly proud of our team and what they’ve accomplished,” said RHS rocketry team co-sponsor Gabe Willis. “I’m looking forward to seeing them showcase their talents at the national level – and hopefully even further.”

RHS Career Tech director Shelley Montgomery also expressed her pride in the team’s successes. “They are continuing the RHS tradition of excellence, and we wish them the best as they compete in nationals,” she said. “We know they will make us proud.”

This year marks a return to nationals for Tharptown, as well. In this past year’s national competition, THS Team One placed ninth.

THS Team Two was the sixth alternate of 615 teams that competed for one of the national slots.

Tharptown rocketry team members include Jaret Abarca, Presley Laster, Bernardo Castillo, Angie Chavez, Kylee Beard, Destin Martin, Jessie Mitchell, Christian Franco and Danielle Cassel.

“I’m extremely proud of our team. I can’t wait to share the experience of nationals with them,” shared Marsha Inmon, co-sponsor of the Tharptown rocketry team. “It’s our school’s fourth trip there, but it’s the first time the competition has been held in the D.C. area since 2019.”

The other co-sponsor is Lynsi Bragwell Fincher.

For Tharptown team mentor Andrew Heath, the lessons he’s been pleased to see the team tackling include problem-solving and working together to overcome adversity.

“I look forward to seeing them continue to excel. It’s been a pleasure working with these incredibly smart kids,” said Heath, who was part of the international championship-winning RHS team in 2015. I look forward to seeing how high they’ll fly as they compete at the national level.”

The top 25 finishers at the national finals will automatically earn spots in the NASA Student Launch workshop, a research-based, exploration activity designed to provide cost-effective research and development of rocket propulsion systems.

This project will offer multiple challenges reaching a broad audience of middle and high schools, colleges and universities across the nation.

“We’re very proud to support these two local teams,” said CB&S corporate correspondence employee Alana Parker, “and we wish them much success in their upcoming competition at nationals.”