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Katrina, center, and Kourtney Simpson, right, twin sisters and members of the Würzburg, Germany, rifle team, fire their weapons during day one of the National All-Service JROTC Rifle Championships.
Katrina, center, and Kourtney Simpson, right, twin sisters and members of the Würzburg, Germany, rifle team, fire their weapons during day one of the National All-Service JROTC Rifle Championships. (Photo courtesy of Scott Pilkington / JROTC)

The rifle team from Würzburg High School in Germany has come a long way in one year.

After finishing last at the 2003 National All-Service JROTC Marksmanship Finals, the team took second at this year’s competition and broke records throughout its January-through-March season.

Rifle team members Katrina Simpson, Kourtney Simpson, Justin Shell and Rainer Bretch, all seniors, set one of its records last year — 1,397 points in a single competition. This year, it beat that record by one point.

At the European Rifle Championships in February, Würzburg reset that record, scoring 1,400 points to win the title and earn a berth in the Army JROTC Eastern Region Championships at Fort Benning, Ga.

Competing against 13 stateside teams, Würzburg won that contest, which qualified it for another trip to Fort Benning for the national championships March 25-26.

The team to beat at Nationals was the Marine Corps JROTC team from Shelby County High School, Ky., which won Nationals in 2003 and claimed the Junior Olympic team title earlier this year.

Würzburg had a strong showing on the first day of competition, slipping by Shelby County, 2,294 to 2,293. The defending champs came back on day two to beat Würzburg and reclaim first place.

“From last year to this year we improved more than 230 points,” said Würzburg coach, retired 1st Sgt. Jack Wayne.

The secret to Würzburg’s success?

“Really, there is no secret. It’s just having fun with it,” said Katrina Simpson, who is now the ninth-ranked JROTC shooter in the United States. “It’s just coming to practice every day and doing what you know how to do.”

Her twin sister and teammate, Kourtney added, “Every shot counts.”

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