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Davion Russell of Bitburg prepares to fire during a conference marksmanship competition in Wiesbaden, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. Russell finished first on his team with a 263.
Davion Russell of Bitburg prepares to fire during a conference marksmanship competition in Wiesbaden, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. Russell finished first on his team with a 263. (Dan Stoutamire/Stars and Stripes)
Davion Russell of Bitburg prepares to fire during a conference marksmanship competition in Wiesbaden, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. Russell finished first on his team with a 263.
Davion Russell of Bitburg prepares to fire during a conference marksmanship competition in Wiesbaden, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. Russell finished first on his team with a 263. (Dan Stoutamire/Stars and Stripes)
James Wagenblast of Wiesbaden looks down his air rifle sights during a conference marksmanship competition in Wiesbaden, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. Wagenblast's varsity team finished third in the competition with a combined score of 1,074.
James Wagenblast of Wiesbaden looks down his air rifle sights during a conference marksmanship competition in Wiesbaden, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. Wagenblast's varsity team finished third in the competition with a combined score of 1,074. (Dan Stoutamire/Stars and Stripes)
Victoria Jackson, left, and Renee Sahli, both of Kaiserslautern, prepare to fire during the kneeling portion during a conference marksmanship competition in Wiesbaden, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. Jackson and Sahli were the top two shooters, finishing with 281 and 276, respectively.
Victoria Jackson, left, and Renee Sahli, both of Kaiserslautern, prepare to fire during the kneeling portion during a conference marksmanship competition in Wiesbaden, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. Jackson and Sahli were the top two shooters, finishing with 281 and 276, respectively. (Dan Stoutamire/Stars and Stripes)
Alec Engel of Wiesbaden loads his air rifle during a conference marksmanship competition in Wiesbaden, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. Engel finished with a 225, good for fourth on his squad.
Alec Engel of Wiesbaden loads his air rifle during a conference marksmanship competition in Wiesbaden, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. Engel finished with a 225, good for fourth on his squad. (Dan Stoutamire/Stars and Stripes)
Varsity shooters from Wiesbaden, Kaiserslautern and Baumholder prepare to fire from the kneeling position during a conference marksmanship competition in Wiesbaden, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. Kaiserslautern took top honors, with Alconbury and Wiesbaden rounding out the top three.
Varsity shooters from Wiesbaden, Kaiserslautern and Baumholder prepare to fire from the kneeling position during a conference marksmanship competition in Wiesbaden, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. Kaiserslautern took top honors, with Alconbury and Wiesbaden rounding out the top three. (Dan Stoutamire/Stars and Stripes)
Victoria Jackson, a junior at Kaiserslautern, looks through a scope prior to shooting from the kneeling position during a conference marksmanship competition in Wiesbaden, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. Jackson was the competition's top shooter with a 281.
Victoria Jackson, a junior at Kaiserslautern, looks through a scope prior to shooting from the kneeling position during a conference marksmanship competition in Wiesbaden, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. Jackson was the competition's top shooter with a 281. (Dan Stoutamire/Stars and Stripes)

WIESBADEN, Germany — Kaiserslautern’s varsity marksmanship team laid down a marker a week before the DODEA-Europe championships in Vilseck with a strong overall performance in conference competition Saturday.

The Raiders team of Victoria Jackson, Renee Sahli, Scott Wemhoff, Alison Ganous and Sarah Robertson combined for 1,102 points, continuing their streak of west conference dominance this season. They’ll need it against strong east conference teams Stuttgart and Vilseck, who consistently have scored more than 1,100 this regular season.

“I’m not intimidated, because I feel like this is the best team we’ve had since I’ve been here for marksmanship,” Jackson said after posting a competition-high 281 individual score. “I’m shooting right up there, so we’re doing well.”

Sahli, who finished second with a 276 and will be attending the Air Force Academy to study aeronautical engineering, agreed.

“For this year, my goal is just to get a higher score than I have the last two years – trying to get into the high 280s, and hopefully at the Europeans we’ll step it up,” she said. “I’m hoping that our entire team will come first or second and knock out Stuttgart.”

For conference meets such as this one, shooters must fire 10 shots each from the prone, standing and kneeling positions. For European competition, that 10 will become 20, doubling the strain and stress of maintaining composure and a strong firing position. Even at 10, the discomfort of coming out of the kneeling position was evident for most shooters.

Trailing Kaiserslautern’s strong effort were Alconbury and Wiesbaden, who were neck-and-neck for second and third positions, with team scores of 1,078 and 1,074, respectively. Alconbury benefitted from strong performances from pace-setter Bethany Bleichroth, who shot a 272.

Wiesbaden’s top shooter was freshman Tristan Lauer, who in the final meet of his first competitive season, fired a 273.

“I didn’t pick it up right away but I kept coming and eventually I just kept getting better and better,” Lauer said. “I really enjoy the satisfaction of shooting really well, and just shooting itself is really fun.”

With Europeans on the horizon, Lauer said he is just focused on the process and living in the moment.

“I’m a little nervous because we have to shoot two times as much, but just being there is going to be fun, so I’m happy about that,” Lauer said. “I’ll just be there and do my best.”

Stoutamire.dan@stripes.com

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