Now that the immediate thrill of victory has subsided, Vilseck senior Christy Chanin has transitioned from elated to merely content.

“Maybe not as excited,” Chanin said, describing her mood a full month removed from celebrating a top individual finish and team title at the 2013 DODDS-Europe marksmanship championships. “We’re still really proud of our team and what we accomplished this year.”

As well she should be.

Chanin - the senior centerpiece of a tight group of Falcon friends - produced a combined score of 280, a point better than her nearest competitor. The performance led to a long-coveted European championship for Vilseck. For Chanin and her senior teammates, it meant a triumphant resolution to a high school career that threatened to be defined by heartbreaking runner-up finishes.

And finally, it means Chanin can move on from Vilseck without the stinging regret of unrealized potential. That’s fortunate because Chanin - the Stars and Stripes marksmanship Athlete of the Year - has a bright new future and no room to look back.

Chanin said she’s been accepted into Ohio State University – her “first choice” – and expects to attend in the fall. She’ll try to crack the Buckeyes’ rifle roster, but that’s a secondary concern.

“I’d like to continue my marksmanship career, but that’s not my priority right now,” Chanin said. “I think I’ll end up going to OSU regardless.”

Chanin announces this with nonchalant confidence, obscuring the magnitude of the move. Besides graduating from Vilseck’s cozy campus to the sprawling grounds of a major university, this fall will represent the first time Chanin has lived in the United States after a childhood split between Germany and Japan.

The prospect sparks fleeting fits of anxiety, naturally. But they’re no match for Chanin’s persistent sense of optimism.

“I’m afraid of culture shock, honestly,” Chanin said. “But it should be all right.”

Chanin applies that same concept to the sad prospect of leaving Vilseck and the close bonds she’s formed.

Malia Carson is Chanin’s best friend and a fellow Falcon senior shooter. Carson said she “dragged” Chanin into the program when they were freshmen; later on, Chanin convinced Carson to stick with the sport through a bout of ambivalence. Carson plans to pursue shooting or biathlon at the college level, possibly at the University of Iowa.

The pair plans to reunite with their teammates back in Vilseck when their new schedules offer the opportunity.

“We’re definitely going to stay in contact,” Carson said. “It’s been great being on this rifle team for the last four years.

“But I think we’re all ready for some new stuff.”

Twitter: @broomestripes

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