Air Rifle Team Continues to Hit Mark at Competitions

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Air Rifle Team Continues to Hit Mark at Competitions

The Air Rifle Team poses with their trophy.

The Air Rifle Team poses with their trophy.

The Air Rifle Team poses with their trophy.

The Air Rifle Team poses with their trophy.

Rebecca Eaves, Staff Writer

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You hold the sight up to your eye. You take a breath and focus all your energy on the center of the target. You hold every muscle in your body still except for your finger when you pull the trigger. You feel your adrenaline rise the closer the pellet gets to the target.

Team captains Paige Gibson and Kay-Leigh Gleffe feel that rush every time they compete.

JROTC’s Air Rifle team has been around since 2014 and began actively competing last year.

The skill level of the Air Rifle team is evident in the many individual and team accomplishments. This year, the team won first place in the Bluegrass Air Rifle League. Two teams also attended the Kentucky State Championship in Henderson County.

Air rifle marksmanship is part of the LET-2 (second-year cadet) curriculum. To be on the team, cadets have to pass a safety exam and prove they are capable. Freshmen are able to compete if they show their exceptional work.

“I got involved when I was a first year cadet,” said Gibson. “Master Sgt. Lee was telling us about try-outs and since my brother had been on a team at another school, I decided to try out for GRC’s team.”

When the team started three years ago, members practiced on a two-lane range in MSG Lee’s
classroom. During that time the average team score was 700 and average individual score was 175.

Now, the team practices in the school’s greenhouse during the winter and attends competitions every Thursday. Both the team average score and the individual average score has gone up from 700 to 900+ and from 175 to 220+.

“Almost every week our team of four shooters won the first place medals,” said Gibson. “This year, we continued to do so and also brought home the championship trophy.”

Many of the team’s shooters have received the highest award a shooter can get. Preston Maxwell, Luis Huerta, Gleffe, and Gibson have all achieved the Expert Badge. Gleffe was the only senior to receive it. “I was really excited,” she said.

At a recent competition, Gibson was able to score her personal best, a 240 out of 300, putting her in the top 25 percent of all individual shooters. This was particularly significant considering the competition was only the team’s second advanced event.

Gleffe also scored her personal best ending with a 233 out of 300. “I was proud of myself,” said Gleffe. “I ended a good year with a good score.”

Besides competing, the team also had the opportunity to meet soldiers from the Army Marksmanship Unit. “The brigade competition was really fun,” said Gibson. “I met some interesting people and got to see really advanced shooting teams.”

Being a part of the air rifle team has had a big impact on Gibson. “It’s been nothing but good times and good memories,” she said.

The Air Rifle team has represented the excellence of JROTC at GRC and continues to take the top spots in competitions.

“By being on the rifle team, I’ve learned that it isn’t always being the best that matters,” said Gibson. “It’s enjoying what you’re doing and who you’re doing it with. I’ve learned to appreciate the people around me and to always step out of my comfort zone but never give up when times get hard.”