National competitions in shooters’ crosshairs

One national competition may be good enough for some teams, but not for the JROTC air rifle teams at Oak Harbor High School.

Team members are participating in three different national competitions in the coming months.

The groups’ most recent accomplishment came March 6 when four members ventured to Olympia and took first place in a state competition which allowed them to move on to the National Junior Olympics this July in Kentucky. Members that competed Sunday were Thomas Chandler, Wes Marks, Justin Jansen and Kasey Kenworthy.

Before that, team members went to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., to compete in the Western JROTC Air Rifle Championship the last weekend in February. Fifty-two teams, 256 individuals from Navy, Marine Corps and Army JROTC units competed.

Oak Harbor placed second among Navy JROTC teams behind Carson City High School from Nevada. OHHS will still, however, be one of four teams representing Navy units at the National Championship Match in Fort Benning, Ga.

“This year we pretty much continued on the talent from last year and built on that,” said Corey Schulz, who is one of five students heading to the national competition. Joining Shulz are Marks, Chandler, Tabitha Rivera and Daniel Saiku (alternate).

The top two teams from each branch of the service (Army, Navy, and Marine Corps) from each of the two regions advance to the national competition. Approximately 1,200 teams competed in preliminary rounds.

The Oak Harbor team also found success in individual competitions.

Marks was the Navy champion while Chandler placed third after losing a sudden-death tiebreaker and Rivers placed second.

Mike Black, Naval Science Instructor at the high school, said the team was able to qualify for the national competition with some new participants.

“We’re taking the team back to nationals with three new shooters,” he said.

Last year, Oak Harbor sent a five-person team to Fort Benning. They placed third in the Navy national competition and third place in the all-service competition.

The team is also competing in a national competition sponsored by the American Legion. They qualified for the competition via a mail-in competition. They will compete in a similar competition later this month.

Air rifle matches consist of three positions, prone, standing and kneeling. Shooters have 20 shots in each position.

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