Led by senior talent, rifle hopes to qualify for Nationals

The St. Louis U. High rifle team opened the doors to the range in November to begin practicing for the team’s 77th season. The team consists of 34 total shooters, nine of whom are freshmen. Recent positive changes to Covid protocols have created a spark for the team, and have the coaches eagerly awaiting scores and a trip to Camp Perry Ohio to compete in Nationals.

Art: William Blaisdell.

While the team is still masked up, shooters welcomed the removal of interpoint barriers and the ability to travel out-of-state for competitions. The removal of the barriers is the first step for the team to return to normalcy. However, there are still changes the coaches would like to see that would help the team reach Ohio in July.

“I think masks are appropriate until we are on the line getting ready to shoot,” said team captain Sam Quinlivan. “Breathing patterns and cheek placement are essential to achieve a consistency necessary to succeed in shooting, masks interfere with both of these aspects.”

The team will be shooting in the US Army Junior Air Rifle National Championship Qualifier this weekend and will be playing host to seven other high schools. Should the Jr. Bills qualify, they will travel to compete Fort Wayne, Ind., a trip the team could not make last season.  

Even as the season’s start approaches, the top team is still undecided. The abilities of all the shooters are very similar, which makes the top four positions up for the taking. With the aid of senior captains Grant Grabowski and Quinlivan, the current senior shooters have shown the capability to score high and earn a spot both at State and Nationals. 

“We have seen the talent in the senior class for the past three years,” said head coach Will Bresnahan. “This team can make it to Nationals.”

The junior class also has plenty of talent. Over the summer, juniors Mason Wodciker and Michael Lumetta each qualified for the Junior Olympics, and had a strong showing. Coaches are excited to see how they perform in the first in person match of the season.  

“I think our juniors have a lot of potential as well,” said assistant coach Hayden Steingruby, ’19. “I am excited to see their scores as we move through the season.”

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