Three seniors will represent Penn Manor High School when they compete Saturday, May 10, in the national finals of the Team America Rocketry Challenge.
The Penn Manor team of Maggie McClintock, Tom Sowers and Eric Keefer is one of seven teams from Pennsylvania and 100 teams from across the United States that qualified for the competition in Great Meadow in The Plains, Va., outside of Washington, D.C.
This is the sixth year in a row the Penn Manor trio has qualified; since the competition began in 2003, the school district has fielded at least one qualifying team every year. In 2010, the Comets won the national championship and went on to defeat teams from the United Kingdom and France to capture the international title – the first time an American team accomplished that feat.
This year, students must design and build a model rocket that can travel exactly 825 feet and back within 48-50 seconds while carrying precious cargo — two raw eggs that must return to the ground undamaged. It’s the most difficult challenge of the competition’s 12-year history. With 5,000 annual participants, the Rocketry Challenge is the world’s largest student rocket contest.
Maggie, Tom and Eric have been working together to design, build and test rockets since the seventh grade.