The Onteora Rocket Club placed 114th out of 724 schools in the American Rocketry Challenge, a ranking that gains them an alternate spot in the finals on May 14. Onteora was the highest placing alternate from New York, an impressive feat given it was the club’s first year in the competition and it went against some schools with long-established programs and multiple teams per school.
The top 100 teams were guaranteed a spot, while those ranked 101-125 are alternates. The team will find out April 25 if they are invited to the finals. The three-day event includes a tour of the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, a meet-and-greet and banquet with representatives of NASA and the aerospace industry.
The team is now making modifications to its rocket and conducting test flights for new criteria to be set for the finals. Teams will be told the morning of the event whether the rocket has to reach 820 or 860 feet,
To qualify for the finals, rockets had to get the closest to 835 feet carrying a payload of two eggs and had to maintain flight for 41-44 seconds. The eggs had to remain intact. Finalists were ranked for how close the rocket came to each metric in a scoring system much like golf, where lower is better. The cutoff for the top 100 was 47.58 points. Onteora scored 54.68, said Vince Christofora, the owner of Woodstock Hardware and one of the club’s instructors along with Science and Physics teacher Rich DeRuvo.
The club is now fundraising in hopes of making the trip to the Washington, D.C. area for the finals. Lodging, food, uniforms and other costs come to about $600 per team member for the four-day, three-night trip. The team will also need money for rocket supplies.
Christofora and DeRuvo expressed great pride regarding the team’s accomplishment. The rocket club is open to Onteora students in grades 7-12.
Team members are Nick Bodner, Lucas Bruce, Kai Caswell, Anthony Christofora, Vincent Christofora, Giuliana Frisenda, Max Reimondo, Gavin Rice, and Emmett Stellavato.
The Onteora Rocket Club is an approved section of the National Rocket Association.