BAUMHOLDER, Germany — Few surprises were expected going into Saturday’s DODDS-Europe marksmanship finals.
And while that held true mostly, not everything turned out as everybody expected.
Patch, winner of three of the last four European titles, fell to rivals Vilseck in the championship, even as Patch picked up the trophy for highest cumulative score for the season.
Vilseck senior Christy Chanin claimed top individual honors with a score of 280 – a point higher than second place finisher Maggie Ehmann of Patch.
After shooting her all-time high of 288 in last week’s regular-season finale, Chanin said she thought she had it in her to take the top spot. But that was a secondary goal.
“I didn’t care if I won today if our team won,” Chanin said. Something else was “more important to me – beating Patch.”
Still, second was a worthwhile consolation for Ehmann, who took the trophy for highest cumulative score for the six-meet season and the highest score for shooting in the prone in the championships.
Though her final score of 279 was 11 points off her season best, “I think my day was pretty good,” Ehmann said.
“I try to tell myself, ‘I’m not here to win, I’m not here to lose, I’m just here to have fun.’”
Elvia Salazar made a surprise move into third place, posting a score of 278 and taking the title for highest score in the standing position – a 93. It wasn’t just her highest score of the season, but her best performance ever.
“My season wasn’t the best this year, but I came in and I was like, ‘Okay, this is what counts,’” said the three-sport athlete and commander of Baumholder’s JROTC battalion. “And I think that’s why I shot pretty high.”
Salazar’s score eclipsed that of teammate Kris Martinez, Baumholder’s top performer throughout the regular season, who wound up with a 259. Of anyone on the Baumholder squad, it was thought Martinez would be the one to break Patch and Vilseck’s hold on the top 10.
“I tell you,” Baumholder coach B.J. Walker said with a smile and a shrug, “one bad day – it happens.”
Patch’s Ben Ferguson fell in behind Salazar with a 275 in his first showing at Europeans and first full season as a regular competitor. A point behind him was Vilseck senior Alexis Finster, who battled through back problems to help put her team into the top spot.
“This has been a fight back and forth between Patch, Hohenfels and Vilseck for as long as I’ve been coaching – eight, 10 years anyway,” Vilseck coach Mitch Pollock said. “And the Vilseck kids have gotten to the point where they were constantly second in this match, and Patch and Hohenfels were going around us between first and third for the last six or seven years anyway.”
To come in here and take it “feels great,” Pollock said.
Hohenfels grabbed third place, followed by Ansbach, Baumholder and Heidelberg.
“You can’t win ‘em all,” Patch coach Raul Pinon said, but losing by just nine points wasn’t a bad showing. “We come to shoot, not to compete.”
But it was a competition nonetheless, and Vilseck’s Chanin was beaming over the result.
“I mean, it’s my senior year,” Chanin said. “We’ve come in second every year I’ve been in high school, so this is just a great way to end up.”