ROCHESTER, Wash. — Walla Walla High School’s JROTC Precision Rifle Team braved the weather conditions to compete in the Washington State Junior Olympic 3 Position Rifle
Championship at the Capitol City Rifle Club’s indoor range last weekend.
The event is the qualifier for the Junior Olympic National Championship to be held in Camp Perry, Ohio, in June.
“This is an especially important match for us this year,” Wa-Hi coach Mark Mebes said. “We had to place well here in order to receive an invite to defend our 2013 Junior Olympics National Championship title in Ohio this summer.”
Capitol City Rifle Club’s indoor range was a new experience for the Walla Walla shooters. Constructed like a barn with a concrete floor, the range is heated by two small barrel wood stoves to the rear of the firing line.
“It was really cold,” Cadet Master Sergeant Samantha French said. “After firing my prone set, I was shivering a bit and couldn’t really feel my fingers. I was glad I had a few minutes to warm before we shot the next set.”
Between positions, shooters were found huddling around the stoves in stocking caps.
The match consisted of 20 record shots in each of three positions — prone, standing and kneeling — for a total of 600 possible points.
Wa-Hi’s top scoring shooter at the match was Cadet Lieutenant Allison Juergensen, with a score of 580.
“I was happy with my performance today,” Juergensen said. “It was cold and the targets were placed at heights that we were not used to, but sometimes it is good to get out of your comfort zone and see if you can still produce good scores.”
Juergensen, who is being considered by several NCAA college rifle teams, sent her results to the college recruiters immediately after the match.
Despite the conditions, Wa-Hi’s team posted a total score of 2,301 out of 2,400, taking second place to the Capitol City Gold Team , which posted a 2,307.
Mebes felt confident that the score will earn the team a seat at the national match in June.
“It’s not the highest score we have posted, but considering the conditions, I am pleased,” he said. “As a team, we did everything pretty well at this match.
“Cadet First Sergeant Jameson led the team in their prematch routine and got everyone in the right frame of mind before we took the line, and I think that was key today,” Mebes said. “There were a lot of externals here, but they only bother you if you let them.”
Wa-Hi’s next match is the Army JROTC Service Championship today through Sunday in Albuquerque, N.M.