Georgetown boys win international rocket competition


by ANDREW CHUNG / KVUE News and photojournalist JOHN FISHER

Bio | Email | Follow: @AndrewC_KVUE

Posted on July 19, 2013 at 6:35 PM

Updated Friday, Jul 19 at 6:41 PM

GEORGETOWN, Texas -- They've been around the world and back again - and brought home an international prize.

In May, KVUE told you about three Georgetown boys “skyrocketing” into competition - literally. Last month, 17-year-old Matthew Janecka, his 13-year-old brother Mark, and their friend, Daniel Kelton, competed in the International Rocketry Challenge in Paris, and returned to Texas - victorious!

"It feels really good. It's really amazing. You can't really describe it other than that – amazing," said Janecka.

Mark said, “It's just amazing. It's such a good feeling - you can't really describe it."

Daniel was not in Georgetown Friday to speak to KVUE with his fellow teammates. But he was away - for a very good reason.

"Daniel is actually trying out for another international competition in Ohio. It's a glider duration competition, in which he has to take a glider up on a rocket engine, but glide it back down in six minutes as a remote control glider," said Janecka.

In Paris, the three boys competed against teams from France and the United Kingdom. 

"I really liked that I got to meet other people in my interest - that have the same interest - they all liked rockets and aviation," said Janecka.

Just like the national competition - the boys had to launch a rocket carrying an egg - 750-feet into the air - and land it without breaking the egg.

"In France, we had to launch on a three meter rail at a 75 to 85 degree angle," said Janecka.

When the boys competed in the U.S. competition, they had to launch on a two-meter rail at a 90-degree angle.

Even on a rainy day in Paris - the boys won the contest.

Shirley Janecka, Matthew and Mark’s mom, said she was extremely proud.

"I'm also proud of how they worked as a team in the challenge, and they learned a lot of life skills - compromise, which I think is very crucial to teamwork, and because they work so well as a team, I think that also brought them success, and I'm most proud of that...that they have learned so many life skills in this project," Shirley said.

Laura Epps is the club manager for the Georgetown 4-H club, and introduced the model rocket project to the boys. 

"It is so exciting; it's just a thrill, and I'm just - it's phenomenal," she said.

For the United States - and especially Texas - these model rocketry champions are a source of great pride.