Wolford Wolves on point
When it comes to competitions for the Wolford Shooting Sports club, every shot counts.
“Every shot (in a air gun meet) is like shooting a free throw in basketball with half a second left,” Wolford coach Bill Langer said.
The club faced differing levels of competition recently at meets in Colorado and Minot.
In December 2014, junior team members Madison Marchus and Hannah Walsh got the chance to compete at the national level as they traveled to the Winter Air Gun Championship in Colorado Springs. According to coach Bill Langer, Marchus and Walsh had some stiff competition, as they faced shooters at the NCAA collegiate and Olympic levels.
In the competition, Marchus took 84th place out of 125 in the women’s air rifle competition and 61st out of 102 in the junior air rifle.
Walsh took 39th of 43 in the women’s air pistol competition and 21st of 22 in the junior air pistol. She scored 349 of a possible 400 in pistol, and 432 in rifle.
“Going into Colorado, I knew that I was going to be competing with some of the top shooters in the nation, so it was a little intimidating,” Marchus said.
Walsh said: “I was nervous and anxious as I always am before any meet, but I went in with personal goals in the back of my mind. I wasn’t going to worry about what anyone else shot or where I placed. I wanted to shoot a personal best for myself.”
Walsh and Marchus had it a bit easier at the State Junior Olympic Championship, held Jan. 17 and 18 in Minot.
In the women’s air rifle competition, Walsh scored 356 out of 400, taking 10th place overall. Marchus scored 367 out of 400, taking ninth place overall. Fellow teammate Sierra Tofte, who was in her first competition, scored 260 out of 400 and took 19th.
Walsh took state champion in the women’s air pistol competition, scoring 340 out of 400. Taking first, she automatically qualified for an invitation to the 2015 National Junior Olympic Championship, which will be held in Colorado Springs.
In the men’s air rifle competition, Michael Johnson, a junior transfer from Texas who was in his second match, scored 490 out of a possible 600, taking 11th place overall. Koby Marchus scored 474 out of 600 and took 14th, slightly edging fellow teammate Kyle Yoder, who scored 453 out of 600.
The team will compete at the Junior Air Rifle Sectional tournament and the state Open Air Rifle Championship, both of which will be held Feb. 28 and March 1 in Devils Lake.
“I always have a goal to shoot better than my previous score so that is what I will aim for,” Walsh said.
Marchus said: “My goal is to go into that match confident and shoot to my full potential.”
Langer said the shooting club is in its eighth year of existence and has greatly progressed in its time.
“It’s a really great learning experience for students to get discipline, self-control, and they get out of it what they put into it,” Langer said.