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Stuttgart's Kaila Jones takes aim during the first round of firing at the 2016 DODDS-Europe marksmanship finals held in Vilseck, Germany, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016.

Stuttgart's Kaila Jones takes aim during the first round of firing at the 2016 DODDS-Europe marksmanship finals held in Vilseck, Germany, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016. (Michael S. Darnell/Stars and Stripes)

Stuttgart's Kaila Jones takes aim during the first round of firing at the 2016 DODDS-Europe marksmanship finals held in Vilseck, Germany, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016.

Stuttgart's Kaila Jones takes aim during the first round of firing at the 2016 DODDS-Europe marksmanship finals held in Vilseck, Germany, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016. (Michael S. Darnell/Stars and Stripes)

Callum Funk, one of Stuttgart's best marksmen and the only male to make the top six, checks the placement of his shot during 2016 DODDS-Europe marksmanship finals held in Vilseck, Germany, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016.

Callum Funk, one of Stuttgart's best marksmen and the only male to make the top six, checks the placement of his shot during 2016 DODDS-Europe marksmanship finals held in Vilseck, Germany, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016. (Michael S. Darnell/Stars and Stripes)

Stuttgart's Eileen Dickinson ended the 2016 DODDS-Europe marksmanship season as the top shooter with 1,412 points. Dickinson also came in fourth overall with a 280 during the 2016 DODDS-Europe marksmanship finals held in Vilseck, Germany, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016.

Stuttgart's Eileen Dickinson ended the 2016 DODDS-Europe marksmanship season as the top shooter with 1,412 points. Dickinson also came in fourth overall with a 280 during the 2016 DODDS-Europe marksmanship finals held in Vilseck, Germany, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016. (Michael S. Darnell/Stars and Stripes)

Vilseck's Shardez Smith gets ready to fire during the 2016 DODDS-Europe marksmanship finals held in Vilseck, Germany, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016.

Vilseck's Shardez Smith gets ready to fire during the 2016 DODDS-Europe marksmanship finals held in Vilseck, Germany, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016. (Michael S. Darnell/Stars and Stripes)

Hohenfels' Melanie DePuy sites in during the 2016 DODDS-Europe marksmanship finals held in Vilseck, Germany, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016.

Hohenfels' Melanie DePuy sites in during the 2016 DODDS-Europe marksmanship finals held in Vilseck, Germany, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016. (Michael S. Darnell/Stars and Stripes)

Wiesbaden's Olivia Stecker checks her shot placement during the 2016 DODDS-Europe marksmanship finals held in Vilseck, Germany, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016. Stecker was Wiesbaden's best shooter with a 274.

Wiesbaden's Olivia Stecker checks her shot placement during the 2016 DODDS-Europe marksmanship finals held in Vilseck, Germany, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016. Stecker was Wiesbaden's best shooter with a 274. (Michael S. Darnell/Stars and Stripes)

Kaiserslautern's Scott Wemhoff peers through his scope before taking up a firing position during the 2016 DODDS-Europe marksmanship finals held in Vilseck, Germany, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016.

Kaiserslautern's Scott Wemhoff peers through his scope before taking up a firing position during the 2016 DODDS-Europe marksmanship finals held in Vilseck, Germany, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016. (Michael S. Darnell/Stars and Stripes)

Alconbury's Brittany Brann got a chance to fire for fun after winning top honors during the 2016 DODDS-Europe marksmanship finals held in Vilseck, Germany, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016. Brann scored a 283.

Alconbury's Brittany Brann got a chance to fire for fun after winning top honors during the 2016 DODDS-Europe marksmanship finals held in Vilseck, Germany, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016. Brann scored a 283. (Michael S. Darnell/Stars and Stripes)

VILSECK, Germany – Before Saturday’s DODDS-Europe marksmanship finals, Vilseck shooing coach Mitch Pollock dabbled in a bit of prognostication.

“You can’t deny good coaching or good shooters,” he said, referring to his team’s toughest competitor in Stuttgart. Turns out, Pollock may be as good of a fortune teller as he is a coach.

The Panthers out scored their competition by 49 points to be crowned once again as the top marksmen in DODDS-Europe. Saturday’s victory marks the third championship in a row the Panthers have claimed.

Of the top six shooters, four of them were from Stuttgart. Kaila Jones lead the Panthers overall with 282 points, while freshman Alexia Millero took top honors in both the kneeling and prone positions.

Yet another honor was bestowed upon Stuttgart’s Eileen Dickinson, who was crowned the top overall shooter in DODDS-Europe, beating out Macy Kimball by a single, solitary point. Talk about making every shot count.

“It was a really close call, just one point difference. I’m really excited by it,” Dickinson said. “It was kind of nerve racking knowing that I could have been beaten or lost by one point, but it was that close.”

As great as Dickinson, Jones and Millero were – and they certainly were that on Saturday – they weren’t the best. That honor belongs to what could certainly qualify as a dark horse candidate in Alconbury’s Brittany Brann, who took the top spot in the standing position and claimed the overall best score with a 283.

“We wouldn’t be able to have been here if it wasn’t for our team,” Brann said. “At the beginning of the season I wasn’t sure how it was going to go. Then they made huge improvements every single match and by the end I knew we could make it here.

“We put Alconbury on the map,” she added.

While that may be true, the Dragons weren’t exactly favorites coming into Saturday’s match. In fact, head coach John Pardo said his team almost missed qualifying for the finals altogether.

“By a mere 14 points we managed to come as a team, but if we hadn’t come as a team, then Brittany Brann – the winner of this competition – would be sitting back at Alconbury right now” he said.

Alconbury definitely has room to grow during the offseason. Their 1,308 points put them in fifth place overall during Saturday’s finals. Vilseck came in second, followed closely by Kaiserslautern and Wiesbaden. Hohenfels finished in sixth.

Stuttgart, though, remains the unstoppable juggernaut of DODDS-Europe marksmanship. With head coach Raul Pinon at the helm – the “great coach” Pollock named earlier in the day – that doesn’t look to be changing any time soon.

“Without Sgt. Pinon’s help, I don’t think the team could or would have won Europeans,” Jones said. “But we did, that’s what really matters…is that the team won.”

darnell.michael@stripes.com


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