Stuttgart’s Ybarra earns some consolation with shootout win
Stars and Stripes January 28, 2023
WIESBADEN, Germany – Stuttgart’s Leila Ybarra is accustomed to pressure situations.
Her former coach, Raul Pinon, often had the Panthers practice with only 10 seconds to shoot in the standing position.
That’s 40 seconds less than what was given during the final shootout during Saturday’s DODEA European marksmanship championship at Wiesbaden High School. Heck, it wasn’t even the first time Ybarra had experienced such an event, as she had been to the JROTC Service Championship the last two years with the Stuttgart team.
“I wasn’t really nervous,” Ybarra said. “I think the only thing I was trying to do was win because I did lose the individual title during the championships.”
Ybarra did manage to post the highest score with 97, tying with Wiesbaden’s Mathew Hise. She won on a tiebreaker.
The event was symbolic, as it didn’t contribute to the team or individual crowns, but it marked a return of a staple of the sport. The last time the DODEA European marksmanship championship had included the shootout came in 2017. Time played a factor, but with 15 lanes and just 30 competitors qualifying, it opened up time for the final’s return.
The shootout consists of the top eight individuals getting 10 shots in the standing position, with each shot taking 50 seconds. After each one, a spotter for each shooter yells out the score, instead of waiting until the end to run the targets through the scanner. The crowd gets to cheer after each score is read out.
“It raises a lot of interest in the shooters, adds a lot of visibility to what they doing,” said retired Maj. Robert Hase, director of Army instruction for DODEA-Europe, of the shootout. “It adds another dimension to marksmanship. Normally, it’s a dry sport, but that brings us more in alignment with other sports where there’s cheering going on and people rooting for everybody.”
The eight marksmen in Saturday’s event were Ansbach’s Alexander Pohlman and Kalea Russell, Ybarra, Stuttgart’s Nole Smith, Kaiserslautern’s Katelynn McEntee, Vilseck’s Adelena Alvarez and Wiesbaden’s Hise and Cydnee Lassiter.
The junior Pohlman, who had won the individual crown due to his performance earlier in the day, had experienced it before, too, but still, it was another thing to compete in the shootout.
“I already knew what was going to go down, but getting out there and starting to shoot, I was actually a lot less nervous than I thought I was going to be,” Pohlman said. “I picked up my rifle, starting firing, and I was like, ‘Hey, I’m kind of stable.’”
As well as a learning experience for the shooters, coaches and officials expressed hope that it would be fun for the athletes, as well.
Ansbach coach Christopher Buchanan noticed that fun between Pohlman and Russell, who were lined up next to each other on the range and chatted between shots.
“For me, it was a very fun experience and wanted to make it fun for them, too,” Buchanan said. “I could see them asking each other how they did before it was announced, smiling and having a good time, and that is one of the biggest takeaways.”