The Eagle River Wolves Rifle Team defeated the Service Cougars 7-0 on Friday, Sept. 30, 2016.
The match took place at Service High School’s shooting range giving them a home range advantage, but that did not stop the Wolves on their path to victory. Not even the Cougars, Clara Veelman’s match high score a 289 out of 300 of the night was enough to hold off the Wolves. Leading the Wolves to victory was Sophomore Maddie Bidinger shooting a 280, her personal best. “I felt so amazing! I hadn’t been shooting that great this past week, and for some reason, I felt really good [on Friday]. I did my pre-shot routine every shot and felt really stable. I really enjoyed every shot,” she said.
Another outstanding shooter Friday night was Senior Haylee Nicholson of Eagle River. She shot the only perfect 100 in the prone position. “I was honestly really excited because it was our first match of the year. It felt amazing because I was like ‘what a way to kick off the year’ and I felt a crazy sense of accomplishment,” Nicholson said. The Eagle River shooters couldn’t be happier.
A rifle match consists of three positions: prone, standing, and kneeling. In each position competitors have a chance to shoot at ten bullseyes on their three respective targets; each bullseye accounts for ten of the possible one hundred points in each position for an overall total of three hundred points. The scores then separate these shooters into three teams: A, B, and C. From there, each school’s A, B, and C team go head to head for two points. The school with the highest combined total receives one extra point, for a total of seven possible points. Wolves’ A team shooters were Maddie Bidinger with a 280, Haylee Nicholson with a 279, Daniel Foshee with a 278, and Haley McGrew with a 275. Together they scored a 1,112 against Service’s A Team score of 1,101 earning two points for the Wolves. The B Team’s shooters did just as well including Ian Soellers with a 274, Ashtin Bennett with a 274, Colby Fletcher with a 271, and Brandon Rose with a 268. The B Team’s total score of 1,087 to Service’s 1,060 helped the Wolves earn two more points. The Eagle River Wolves’ C Team were not behind by much with Grace Rochon scoring a 263, Jacob Schwartz with a 261, Zachary Keith with a 255, and Spencer Singleton ending the match with a 247. The Eagle River C team’s total score of 1,026 over Service’s 1,007 gave the Wolves an additional two points.
Every point mattered because the Eagle River Wolves’ overall combined score of 3,225 outmatched the Service Cougar’s combined score of 3,168. Even though the Wolves won by a landslide of 7-0, the match was much closer than it sounds. In each of the three head-to-heads and in the battle for the overall highest score every point shot mattered. Eagle River Head Coach, Samantha Taylor is extremely proud of her team.
“Eagle River has a space deficiency which hinders the team’s ability to practice. The cafeteria time is now cut short so the wrestlers can have space for their practices,” Taylor said. “This year we had to cut our team in order to be able to train and have adequate shooting time and it is unfortunate to have to limit the team to only eighteen, but the eighteen we have rightfully earned their positions. I look forward to their continued growth this year.”
Inhale. Exhale. That is the discipline of riflery.
Its student shooters know the deeper the breath taken the more solid they become. Finding their natural point of aim, inhaling and taking the shot; practicing what they know will win them a bull. Students from Eagle River prepared diligently for the start of the Riflery season having practiced for weeks before the Sept. 30 match to showcase their skill.
After the first position, prone, was complete, the energy and determination at the match intensified. Everyone wanted the win for themselves, their team and their school. The first match of the season defines who you are to your competitors, team members said. The score from Friday night’s match defined the Wolves as a team others will have to contend with, team members said.
Editor’s Note: Haley McGrew is a senior at Eagle River High School. She is a member of the school’s yearbook staff and a shooter on the riflery team. McGrew is an intern at The ECHO News.