Shooters from Missouri participated in the qualifier for the U.S. Junior Olympics on Jan. 5. According to head coach Will Bresnahan, the match was different than most in terms of scoring because it was an individual only event with no team scores.
SLUH’s three varsity team seniors—Adam Stemmler, Hayden Steingruby, and Jack Doyle—participated in the match and fared well. Stemmler came out on top and secured an automatic bid to this year’s Junior Olympics. Steingruby scored high enough to qualify for the competition as well. But Doyle will have to wait to see if he qualifies.
“Doyle had a good day, but finished a little behind Adam and Hayden and will have to wait for the ‘at large’ invites to be sent out to receive his qualification,” said Bresnahan.
Approaching the midpoint of the season, with the Missouri State Championship coming up at the end of February, Bresnahan mentioned that the team is in pretty good shape compared to the same point at last season.
“The team’s position is definitely stronger than last year. The varsity team is comprised of three elite seniors and one of the hallmarks of senior-laden teams is their consistency week in and week out,” said Bresnahan.
Senior Anthony Rizzo agrees with Bresnahan.
“We did lose a varsity member this year but still have the core of the team... We still maintain great potential,” said Rizzo.
A small but noticeable source of the team’s success this year is that many matches are held at SLUH. The rifle team practices four days a week at SLUH, so when it comes time to have a match, the shooters are comfortable. The lighting at SLUH’s range also helps.
“Our target lighting is also some of the brightest, which definitely helps the scores. Lighting at rifle ranges varies wildly,” said Bresnahan.
This Saturday, the club will participate in the NRA International Sectional at SLUH. The freshmen, JV, and varsity teams will be shooting. According to Rizzo, the varsity team will need to focus on increasing personal scores in future matches.
“With the matches we have left before the (Missouri) Junior Olympic match it is important that the core of the team gets their personal score in order to qualify for that match, 560 out of 600 standing position at the lowest,” said Rizzo.