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the Southerner Online

An upbeat website for a downtown school

the Southerner Online

An upbeat website for a downtown school

the Southerner Online

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Precision in play: Rifle team aims for success

Ellie Palaian
Sophomore Logan Hicks prepares to fire his rifle during the Knights match against Maynard Jackson on November 29. The Knights lost to the Jaguars 789-806.

As the winter sports season kicks off, riflery is pushing to make state once again. Riflery, while open to anyone, requires a test to be perfected before shooting the airsoft rifles.

“We go through a rigorous process of ensuring that everyone understands [the] fundamentals of safety because that’s the key thing that we have to follow with this type of sport,” head coach Sgt. Eric Fisher said. “No one is eligible or able to touch a weapon if they haven’t passed our rigorous examination.”

Senior Brigitte McNulty, who has been on the team for two years, said the safety test helps teach the fundamentals and rules that align with shooting.

“In order to be able to shoot the rifle, you have to show that you can [hold up] the responsibilities of doing it,” McNulty said. “It’s like [knowing] when a range is hot when you are allowed to shoot, or what you do before you shoot.”

Junior Julian Otero, who has been on the team since his sophomore year, said a common misconception is that there is no danger with the sport. He also said, when done safely, the sport can be picked up quickly.

“One thing I wish people knew more about is how serious you need to take it; people don’t take safety seriously outside of the air rifle [team],” Otero said. “Air rifle is a very serious sport that can lead to injury if people don’t take it seriously or distract the people who are on the team. [People also don’t know] how consistent but easy it is to get into as a sport, people just need to learn, pay attention and stay safe.”

In riflery, teams compete at three different firing positions, shooting at targets. Each team brings five shooters, and the top four are scored.

“We go, and we compete in three different firing positions, which are prone, standing and kneeling. They shoot with airsoft rifles that have little millimeter pellets, and we shoot on 10-meter targets,” Fisher said.

Last season, the Knights advanced to regionals but lost to Lumpkin County, the eventual runner-up at the State Championship. Fisher said he hopes to build off of what the team accomplished last year.

“This past year, [there were] a lot of first-year shooters, and so there was a learning curve there and everything,” Fisher said. “[This year] we have several returning fires, so we should be more competitive and more seasoned, so I’m expecting greater things out of us.”

Fisher said the additional fires on the team should help the team do better.

“The key thing is ensuring that we have that depth and discipline because the key issue we ran into last year was [that] we didn’t always have enough students, or fires, so we relied on the same group of kids every match, and that can become kind of taxing because we have matches every Tuesday and Thursday,” Fisher said.

McNulty said the additional practice time should help, as she wasn’t always ready for the competitions.

“Last year, we didn’t really practice much,” McNulty said. “The first time I ever did one of the positions was during a competition — that’s not much; it’s not much preparation. We’re starting way earlier this year to just be a little bit better prepared because I think we can do it; I think we could do better [than last year].”

Otero said the additional practice time will help the team’s new members acclimate and be ready for the season.

“I feel pretty good about this season, we have a lot of new members, and we have started our training earlier this year compared to last year; I believe this gives us a lot of time for proper practice, especially when it comes to the newer members.”

Fisher said he has high hopes for the team, looking to make it further than last year.

“We always shoot for the stars, and then we hit the moon. We’re hoping to qualify at the regional level, with the intent to go to the state playoffs,” Fisher said.

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About the Contributors
Sinclair Richman, Sports Associate Managing Editor
Sinclair Richman is a junior and this is her third year writing for The Southerner. In her free time, she plays basketball and soccer for Midtown and is a part of the BETA Club and Latin club. She is excited to continue working on the paper.
Ellie Palaian, Sports Managing Editor
Ellie Palaian is a senior and this is her third year on staff for The Southerner. She plays soccer and basketball for Midtown High and is excited to write for the paper this year.

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