Pumpkin picking and pumpkin carving are favorite Saturday pastimes on Long Island in October.
But pumpkin chucking?
For the seven LI high school teams that competed in the last Saturday’s annual Pumpkin Fling, why not?
Deer Park High School took top honors in this year’s Pumpkin Fling, held at the Suffolk County Farm and Education Center in Yaphank, which tests teams’ ability to build a catapult that can fling a pumpkin the farthest.
The Dark Falcons won while flinging one pumpkin 136 mph. The team’s coach, Bruce Sander led the group into victory after teaching the same team of 10 students how to build catapults when they were in the seventh grade. After Sander left Deer Park’s Robert Frost Middle School for the high school, the tradition continued. Saturday's win was their first after finishing second in their first four tries.
“We had heavy winds [in our faces]," Sander said, "but we were able to get it [to] 644 feet.”
Aside from chucking the pumpkins, the team works together to understand the mechanics behind building the catapult, including figuring out dimensions that would allow the pumpkins to travel as far as possible.
Other schools that competed included the South Side Cyclones from South Side High School; the Hauppauge Hurlers from Hauppauge High School; the Pumpkineers from Bay Shore High School; the Southampton Mariners from Southampton High School; Mattituck Boy Scout Group 39 from Mattituck High School; and Jack-O-Splatter from Islip High School.