Several new firsts as Alconbury hosts first marksmanship meet
By WILLIAM HOWARD | STARS AND STRIPES Published: December 9, 2017
RAF ALCONBURY, England — Kaiserslautern proved most precise of the six teams competing Saturday in the second high school marksmanship match of the season.
The Raiders won with a team score of 1,102 and fielded the day’s top two shooters in Jazmyn Taylor and Victoria Jackson.
A single bulls-eye separated first and second place as Taylor finished with 282-8 against Jackson’s 282-7.
“I feel really great about it; especially since I’m a first-year shooter,” Taylor said. “I’m sick today, so I’m really mellow and my heart rate is down. I think that helped a lot.”
Wiesbaden’s team earned second place with 1,085 and Alconbury followed close behind for third with 1,061.
For the first time ever, teams from the Western Conference shared a bus ride together to compete at RAF Alconbury.
“It’s the first time we’ve hosted a full conference match in the U.K.,” Alconbury coach John Pardo said.
Students from different teams trained together the night before and even lent a helping hand to the hosting team on match day.
“Even though it’s very competitive, most of the coaches are more than willing to help your team,” Pardo said.
The match also featured a team from SHAPE for the first time in the conference.
“It’s like a family, I’m finding out,” SHAPE coach John Arias said. “They’re so helpful and I can’t thank the other coaches and students enough.”
The young team from SHAPE has to train in a cold gym back home with older rifle models, but freshman Mitch Gunnerson said he doesn’t mind.
“The team is really fun and it’s just a common thing that we can all do,” Gunnerson said. “If we get better with this equipment, then when we get newer stuff we’ll be even better.”
After a day of firing away, five teams left Alconbury for a trip back to the mainland after trading spent pellets for new friendships.
Shooters from Wiesbaden, Baumholder, Spangdahlem, Kaiserslautern, SHAPE and Alconbury prepare to fire from the prone in the first western conference high school marksmanship match at RAF Alconbury, England, Saturday, December 9, 2017. Kaiserslautern won the match with a team score of 1,102.
WILLIAM HOWARD/STARS AND STRIPES