International Rocketry Challenge 2018: Meet the U.S. Team


Now that the National Finals Fly-off has finished, the winning team from Creekview High School outside Atlanta, Georgia has been gearing up to go to London and compete in the 2018 International Rocketry Challenge! These four students from Creekview High School beat out 801 other teams in the national competition, and in addition to their prize, have earned the right to represent the United States and compete against the winning teams from the United Kingdom, France, and Japan. Get to know the U.S. team and check out their bios below:


Name: Brayden Dodge

Year: Graduating Senior

Role on the team: Team Captain

Years Participating: 4 years

Toughest part of building this year’s rocket: Having to adapt the rocket to a brand-new motor for internationals

Favorite movie: Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Advice for 2019 challengers: Trust your gut and experience

Dream job: Working as an aerospace engineer continuing to design rockets

Fun fact: I can name any classic rock song and the band within 20 seconds max of listening to it



Name: Kennedy Hugo

Year: Graduating Senior

Role on the team: My role as a team member is to help complete the tasks that need to be done during each meeting to ensure progress towards the completion of our rocket. Throughout the year, I have assisted in building many different parts of our rocket as well as testing. A few of the things I have been involved in include cutting out our fins, constructing our engine mount, preparing our recovery system, applying the adhesives, and painting our rocket.

Years Participating: 2 years

Toughest part of building this year’s rocket: The toughest part of building this year’s rocket was time management. Each of us are involved in so many things inside and outside of school. For example, I took classes at Kennesaw State University for my senior year of high school, I have a part-time job at a math learning center, Mathnasium, I compete in competitive archery, and I am a small group leader for middle school girls at my local church. Even though my team and I all had so many things going on, we did an excellent job prioritizing our free time, so we could dedicate the hours needed to build our rocket.

Favorite movie: Good Will Hunting

Advice for 2019 challengers: My advice to 2019 challengers is to just learn from every success and failure. Not all launches are going to go perfectly, but it is what you gain from it that matters. The success or failure is going to give you the knowledge to discover a solution to better your rocket.

Dream job: Biomedical Engineer

Fun fact: I am a major superhero geek. My favorite DC superheroes are Batman and the Flash. My favorite Marvel superheroes are Spiderman and Iron Man.


Name: Aiden Mcchesney

Year: Rising Senior

Role on the team: A bit of everything but did a lot cutting the tubes, cleaning casings, and cutting the fins

Years Participating: 3 years

Toughest part of building this year’s rocket: Rebuilding and testing the new rocket airframe with the new F-51 motor

Favorite movie: Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Mans Chest

Advice for 2019 challengers: Sometimes you should trust your gut if you are unsure of something

Dream job: U.A.S (Drone) Operation

Fun fact: I am also part of the Creekview Drone team for 3 years and we are going to our national competition in August.


Name: Warren Teachworth

Year: Rising Senior

Role on the team: Utility- We were all able to perform any task on the rocket that was needed to be done. However, I did most of the test launches and got the rocket qualified for nationals; I also cut out the fins and put them on the rocket…lets just say that I had “fun” with epoxy all over my hands.

Years Participating: 3 years

Toughest part of building this year’s rocket: The toughest part of building this year’s rocket, to me, was cutting out the fins and making sure that they were all the same size and sanded evenly.

Favorite movie: Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

Advice for 2019 challengers: Do not underestimate the size of the fins on a rocket.

Dream job: Naval Aviator- Flying F-35’s off of aircraft carriers for the United States Navy

Fun fact: I am the Battalion Commander for Creekview’s Army JROTC Program and an Eagle Scout.



Andrew White

Community coach Andrew White is a former four-year member of the Creekview Aeronautics club and part of the 2014 TARC Championship rocketry team.  In addition to his work in rocketry, Andrew was the team captain and pilot for the program’s first UAS4STEM Search and Rescue Drone Team.  He is currently a college junior studying engineering at Kennesaw State University in Atlanta.  Andrew is a senior member of the NAR and has completed his high power level 1 certification.

Steven Vosika

Steven has been serving as a community coach with the Creekview High School Aeronautics program since 2011. Prior to his volunteering with the team, he was one of the founding student members of the program and was on Creekview’s first team to qualify for TARC nationals. Steven currently works at Kennesaw State University as a Career & Internship Advisor for STEM majors.  Steven is a senior member of the NAR with a level 1 high power certification.

Tim Smyrl

Tim has been sponsoring and coaching TARC teams since 2005 when he began a rocketry program at South Forsyth High School in Cumming, Georgia.  Shortly after South Forsyth qualified for TARC nationals in 2008, he moved to Creekview High School in Canton, Georgia and started a team there.  After teaming up with fellow science  teacher Todd Sharrock, the program began to grow steadily and has garnered several honors along the way including  9 straight national qualifying TARC teams, the 2014 and 2018 TARC championships, and 3 straight national qualifications in the UAS4STEM (drone) search and rescue competition.  Tim is a Level 2 High Power Certified Senior Member of the National Association of Rocketry (NAR) as well as a R/C pilot and member of the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA).  Tim’s wife Heather is also a teacher, and they have a four year old daughter, Rachael.