Nearly two months after holding tryouts, the LaFayette High School rifle team finally got its season underway Tuesday afternoon with a home match against visiting Chapel Hill High School of Douglas County.
And the results were simply historic.
LaFayette's starting lineup of senior Aaron Hill, junior Emiley Jenkins, sophomore Emma Boykin and freshman Alyssa Kiser set a new school-record with 1,105 points out of a possible 1,200 with a total of 38 center-hits. Chapel Hill finished with 753 points and just six targets scored as center hits.
"For this being our first match of the season, I'm very proud," said head coach Perry Fouts. "The kids have been working hard and they've come a long way in a short amount of time."
Boykin was the top marksman on Tuesday with 287 points out of a possible 300. She scored 98 points during her round in the prone (lying) firing position, 94 in the standing position and 95 in the kneeling position and also paced the squad with 13 bulls'-eyes.
Hill (276 points) recorded scores of 95 (prone), 92 (standing) and 89 (kneeling) with six total center hits. Jenkins, the team captain, finished with 96 (prone), 87 (standing) and 89 (kneeling) for a total of 272 with 12 center hits. Kiser (270 points) had 94 (prone), 84 (standing) and 92 (kneeling) with seven center hits in her very first competition.
Using air rifles, shooters fire pellets at a sheet of 12 targets fastened to a wall 10 meters from their firing line. Aided by scopes and optional rifle stands, competitors get in between 5-10 minutes of practice at each firing position - also known as "sighting" - at the two center targets on each sheet.
Once warm-up time is over, shooters have 10 minutes to fire one shot at each of the remaining 10 targets on their sheet. Each target is made up of circles with decreasing diameters worth anywhere from 1 point for the outmost ring to 10 for a dead-center shot. The maximum amount of points that can be scored by a shooter at each position is 100.
Competitors get a 5-minute sighting period before each of the standing and kneeling rounds. They have 15 minutes to complete their official shots in the standing position and 10 minutes for the kneeling position shots.
The sheets are then scanned by a computer that tabulates the individual and team scores.
"When we first started (rifle team) several years ago, 1,000 points would pretty much beat anyone, except for Dalton," Fouts said. "Now, if you only score about 1,000 points, you're lucky to win. The teams and shooters around here have gotten really good."
LaFayette will hold their "Put Up or Shut Up" fundraiser next Thursday at 3:30 p.m. at the LHS indoor rifle range. Students, faculty members and anyone else can challenge an LHS rifle team member in a three-shot match for $5 per entry. Ten (10) percent of the pot will go to the winners.
The rest of LaFayette's team includes senior Nik Kurtz, sophomores Steven Thompson and Andrew Carroll and freshmen Grace Chapman, Ella Carver and Kayla Godfrey.
The Ramblers' next schedule matches will be Saturday, Dec. 5 at Cass High School where they will face both Adairsville and Etowah. Ridgeland will also compete at Cass that day against Adairsville and Gordon Central. The matches are set to begin at 9 a.m.
The Area 7 meet will be held at Cass in early March, followed two weeks later by the state sectional meet. State semifinals are slated for April 2, while the GHSA state championships will be held at Fort Benning on April 16.