Pumpkin Fling Kings

This year, the high school Catapult Team, with their pumpkin flinging machine Jack-O-Splatter, placed twice in competitions held at the Last Fling Pumpkin Fling at Pocono Raceway and the annual Long Island Pumpkin Flinging Championship.

The Last Fling tasked competitors with creating a machine capable of chucking a two- to four-pound pumpkin as far as possible without the use of an engine. Both youth and adult teams competed for prizes, including a grand champion trophy. Returning to the competition for the third year, Islip placed second in the event.

At the Long Island Championship, which Islip participated in for the 12th year, each team is allowed three throws for measured distance, which is calculated by a local survey/engineering company that coordinates with GPS laser equipment. Whichever team chucks their pumpkin the farthest in those three throws wins.

Teamwork and perseverance paid off as the students battled their way to first place at the Long Island Championship, with a throw measuring 916.7 feet (coming a bit short of their record throw of 1,049.9 feet) and launching their pumpkin at 145 mph.

The team consists of juniors Justin Feller, Andrew Ginnegar, Ryan Maziarz, Sam Meyers, Alex Petry and Steven Walis; sophomore Robert Phalen; and freshmen Kyle Maziarz, Ben Meyer, Jack Needham and Kyle Ness. The team members were able to engineer and build their machine mainly with donations from local businesses.

The purpose of the competitions is to bring science, technology, engineering and math skills to life while also promoting teamwork.