Liberty High School sharpshooters hit No. 1 spot in nation
June 30, 2011
By Laura Geggel
NEW — 6 p.m. June 30, 2011
After an incredible show of teamwork, Liberty High School’s National Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps placed first nationwide as scholastic military champions at the National Rifle Association Air Gun Competition on June 23-25.
“As a team, they scored better than any other team in the nation,” Liberty naval science instructor Al Torstenson said.
Five Liberty air rifle team students — including graduating seniors Tyler Snook, Jackie Chueng and Murphy Ransier, incoming senior John Lorenz and incoming junior Sean Denson — flew to Camp Perry, Ohio, for the championship.
The coaches, Art Weatherford and senior naval science instructor Cmdr. Dan Joslin, accompanied the team.
Though the students won first place, “probably everything that could go wrong, went wrong,” such as equipment malfunctions, Weatherford said. But, “It wasn’t anything the kids weren’t able to rise to.”
The NRA competition is similar to the championships at the Olympics. Each student has a time limit and uses an air rifle to shoot a total of 60 pellets from three different positions — standing, kneeling and prone, a term describing how students lay on their stomachs to shoot.
The target is 33 feet away from the firing line and has a bull’s eye that is half a millimeter big.
“That’s like shooting across the classroom at pencil dot,” Weatherford said. “This sport is probably about 90 percent mental and being able to concentrate. As long as they’re able to stay in that zone and focus, our kids do really well.”
The Liberty team was inspected the first day of the competition and participated during the second two days. They earned first place as scholastic military champions for having the highest level of accuracy.
More than 200 students — about 45 teams — participated in the NRA competition, including youths from Junior ROTC groups, gun clubs or individual competitors.
Several groups helped pay for the Liberty team’s trip to Ohio, including the Renton Gun Club and the Veterans of Foreign War posts in Issaquah and Renton. Students also collected brass and received money for recycling it.
*This article contains corrected information.