Texoma teens qualify for rocket building national competition

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SHERMAN, Tex. (KXII) - A group of Texoma home-schooled teens are headed to the world's largest student rocket contest in Washington D.C. next week.

The six locals were one of only 100 groups to qualify for the honor.

10th grader William Watson is a member Frog Pond Aeronautics, one of the home-schooled middle and high schoolers who design rockets and launch them off as a hobby.

Last month, they found out their hobby will be taking them all the way to Washington D.C.

"We're nervous but really excited," Watson said. "We think it's gonna go well."

They qualified for the Team America Rocketry Challenge nationals--handcrafting rockets with the help of a 3D printer. They worked for months trying to find the perfect model of rocket.

"100 teams make it, I believe there were 800 teams this year," Watson said.

"It's been great for us and the kids both to represent Texas and Sherman," said advisor Mike Cuthbertson. "A small home-school, we're competing against 5A and 6A schools in this program, and we have limited means."

Cuthbertson got the idea from a friend last year. and gathered up his kids and two other families who love math and science
Two years later, it comes down to a single launch next Saturday. Friday's practice launch was a success.

"We were shocked," said team member Rebekah Watson. "We've been having a lot of trouble with this motor, we haven't had this good of a score since nationals two months ago. It's really exciting." (Rebekah)

The rockets have to carry two raw eggs up in the sky and back without cracking them between 41-43 seconds, and reach 800 feet for a perfect score. On Friday they hit 803 feet.

"Every foot you get counted off one point whether it's high or low," Rebekah explained. "Every second you get off is four points."

But it's more than just rocket science. They've launched spirits-- and landed friendships.

"It's so good to have friends to do it with you," said team member Ashlyn Alexander.

The group will showcase their skills in D.C. next Saturday for scholarship money and prizes. If they perform well on their first launch, they'll do a second launch with different qualifications later in the day. Then, they have a chance of going to London for a world competition.

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