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Irish Rocket teams finish in the upper half, but miss the top 10

By John Published: May 14, 2011

The  all-girl Team Alpha model rocket team from St. Vincent-St. Mary High School  finished 33rd out of a 100 competitors  at the  The Team America Rocketry Challenge national finals held today near Washington D.C.

The other two Irish teams, Delta and Echo, finished 41st and 42nd respectively.

Three out of the five of the teams representing Ohio were from St. Vincent-St. Mary, which had 27 students competing on Saturday. Schools from 34 states earned a spot in the national competition after making local qualifying flights witnessed by an official observer.

A team from Rockwall-Heath High School in Heath, Texas, won the competition.

Students design and build their own rockets, which must carry a raw egg to a target height of 750 feet and return it to earth uncracked in 40 to 45 seconds. Any variation in time or altitude is penalized in the national competition.

The sky was overcast and the weather was misty and foggy, said team advisor and physics teacher, Robert Engels.

He said the teams' rockets hit their timing right, but they were off on the target altitude, with two teams exceeding the mark and one falling short.

Team Alpha's rocket reached 774 feet. They would have had a second chance if the rocket hit 770 feet instead.

"The girls were four feet from making it to the finals," Engels said.

The Aerospace Industries Association and the National Association of Rocketry sponsors the national competition. St. Vincent-St. Mary's teams are sponsored by National Machine Group, an aeronautics firm in Stow.

Here's a video that Akron Beacon Journal photographer Paul Tople made about the team before they set off the finals. He gets the hat tip for finding this story, too, but alas, no finder's fee:



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