By RACHEL ADAMS, firstname.lastname@example.org
East Coweta High School’s rifle team remains undefeated in Georgia High School Association competition after setting a new school scoring record.
The ECHS team is currently 7-0 in Area 5 GHSA competition and led by team captain Kinsley Hannon as well as co-captains Roy Roughton and Bo Saavedra.
The trio has led the team to a season average of 1,165 points per meet. Team members also set a new school record of 1,180 out of 1,200 – which broke the school’s previous record of 1,179 – at a recent meet.
Four shooters compete in each match with a maximum possible score of 300 points. Rifle season begins in August and ends in April, and the team competes in a number of meets throughout the season.
“We are both a JROTC and Georgia Varsity sport, where competitors can not only compete in high school but also at the NCAA Division I level,” said Major Pete Merrill, the team’s coach.
The team has seven of the top 10 shooters in Area 5. Taylor Thom currently leads the Area 5 standings with a season average of 292.4, Saavedra is second with a 291.17, Enelyn Diaz Perez is third with a 290.17, Hannon is fourth with a 290.00, Kristen Kanaskie is fifth with a 289.80, Roughton is sixth with a 287.00 and Brooke Merrill is ninth with a 284.00. Additionally, Wesley Scott is currently in 12th place in the Area 5 standings with a season average of 282.00.
The team recently competed in the USMC Marine Corps JROTC Rifle Championship in Anniston, Alabama on Feb. 15 and 16 with two teams.
The first team placed second overall, and the second team placed sixth overall.
The first team, which consisted of Thom, Perez, Saavedra and Hannon, advanced to the national championships in Ohio. Additionally, Kanaskie and Roughton advanced as individuals.
Coming up next for the team is the Area 5 Championship on March 13, followed by the JROTC All-Service Air Rifle National Championship in Port Clinton, Ohio during the weekend of March 20-21.
“The top five teams from every service – the Army, the Marine Corps, the Navy, and the Air Force – go up to Camp Perry in Ohio,” Merrill said. “Last time it was just the Marine Corps, and now it’s everyone.”
Following the national championship is the GHSA state finals, where Hannon, Saavedra, Roughton, Thom, Kanaskie and Perez have qualified as individuals.
Four shooters have also qualified for the Junior Olympic Air Rifle Competition: Hannon, Saavedra, Perez, and Thom.
The Junior Olympic trials will take place in Colorado Springs, Colorado in April.