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Richards Rocketry teams blast off to nationals


On Friday, both middle school and high school Richards Rockets rocketry teams were notified that they have qualified for the The American Rocketry Challenge (TARC) national competition.

According to Coach Cody Lovan, the teams placed in the top 100 out of 615 registered teams for this year’s competition.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the teams will not travel to Washington D.C. as they had when they qualified for the national tournament in 2019. Instead, on June 12, both teams will be in Dayton, Ohio to launch their rockets and directly compete against other regional teams. The results of the regional competitions will be tallied to find who will be declared the winner of the national competition, Lovan said.

According to her, both teams will have the opportunity to win up to $35,000 for first and second place this year.

This marks the 4th year the teams have competed in the TARC and the third year in a row — not counting 2020 competition which was canceled — that the teams have qualified in the top 100. In the past, the first place team would travel to Paris or London for international competition, but that has been canceled, instead extra prize money has been made available, Lovan said.

Both teams began their qualifying launches for the national completion in April, but heavy winds carried a couple of rockets into trees, meaning their other qualifying launches had to be postponed.

After completing the rest of their launches last Saturday, both teams waited to see if their results were enough to get them in.

Both teams build their own rockets, and using a measuring equipment, math and computers to calibrate the rockets launch up to three times, trying to get not the rocket up to a high altitude, but for it to come down quickly for retrieval without damaging it.