ANSBACH, Germany - The new year started off looking pretty much like other recent ones Saturday, with girls filling out most of the spots atop the DODDS-Europe East Conference marksmanship leaderboard.
But Saturday’s winner varied a bit from the script.
“People look at me weird when I say this: Girls make the best shooters,” Vilseck coach Mitch Pollack said. “Girls who run cross country and track and shoot are the best shooters. It all has to do with stamina and heartbeat and the ability to lower their heartbeat and relax. Girls listen better than guys do.”
While Pollack represents a popular opinion among coaches, Christy Chanin, who led the way with a total of 282, appears to be the exception. She typically finishes taking her shots before other shooters at meets and as soon as she’s done she’s up pacing and chatting with her coach and fellow shooters, while others will lay down, relax and compleplate their performance.
“I get really, really nervous during matches,” Chanin said. “I have to go fast. They always say that girls are more patient. They just have the focus. I can’t say that about myself. But I can definitely see that in a lot of the other shooters who are female that shoot at these competitions.”
Vilseck junior Shelby Gronhoff shot the second highest individual score with 276. Pollack said she that even though she competed last year, Gronhoff was never one of his highest scoring shooters.”
“Age, maturity,” Pollack said. “She’s a year older. She listens a little bit better this year. She realizes her mistakes from last year.”
Gronhoff said she does her best to keep her emotions in check when she’s shooting. She avoids feeling too happy, sad or frustrated with each shot.
“You can’t let emotions affect you,” Gronhoff said. “Got to just kind of be like a robot. It’s a very mental sport.”
The top five shooters from Vilseck’s team collectively scored 1,345 out of a possible 1,500. Ansbach scored 1,240, Hohenfels 1,234, Bamberg 1,138 and Vicenza 991.
All of Vilseck’s top five shooters made the top ten of the meet and took four out of the five top slots.
“We didn’t get in as many practices as we wanted to,” Chanin said. “So we were a little nervous today. But after the results of today, were obviously on the right track.”
Pollack, Chanin and Gronhoff all said Patch, which competes in the West Region, is expected to be the biggest competition.
“Patch is always everybody’s competition,” Pollack said.
“We don’t want to get too confident but I think we’ve set ourselves up really well this year,” Chanin said. “We have a lot of returning shooters who were very good last year. And we just have an overall good team.”
“I think we’re a very balanced team as well,” Gronhoff added.