• Red & Black Staff

Rifle team begins practice using new electronic scoring system

Photos and interviews by Senior Mary Harrison

Rifle team members practice after school on October 21 using the newly-installed electronic indoor air rifle scoring system at the Vocational Center's ROTC Complex

After a long wait, the new electronic scoring system for the indoor air rifle range has been installed in the ROTC Complex of the Vocational Center; cadets began practicing using the new scoring system last Wednesday, October 14.

"They enjoy it, and a lot of them have already seen personal bests in their practicing since adjusting to this system,"

said NJROTC instructor Master Chief Michael Youngblood, who coaches the team along with fellow NJROTC instructor Commander Alex Baker.

Senior cadet and Rifle Team member Brooke Hilgartner specified that three or four Rifle Team members have already shot their overall personal bests using the new range and scoring system, including herself, Junior Dominic Miller, and team captain, Junior Gavin Hawthorne.

The scoring system was installed by a technician with the Civilian Marksmanship Program, located in Alabama.

"It took them Tuesday and Wednesday. Wednesday afternoon our Cadets were shooting here as part of their regular practice. So it was the first day they shot with the electronic range," according to Master Chief Michael Youngblood.
The new indoor scoring system showing feedback in real time on a laptop

Because it is electronic, the scoring system, which automatically adjusts as students move between different shooting positions such as "prone" (lying flat on their stomachs) kneeling, and standing, is more accurate than manual systems. The screens are also backlit, so cadets can shoot in dimmer light, which they prefer, according to Master Chief.

The electronic system consists of single targets which score each shot. Students and coaches can then view results on hanging television screens and computer monitors, including point values and totals.

Team Captain Gavin Hawthorne said that using the new scoring system is easier because it's one target: the team spends more time shooting, he explained, because they don't have to take the time to retrieve and replace targets between each round of shots.

Between rounds, cadets (including Team Captain Gavin Hawthorne, center) how to improve their scores with Commander Baker.

There are two classifications "in the ROTC world," according to Master Chief: Sporter and Precision. Most cadets at CHS shoot what's known as a sporter rifle, or "beginner's rifle," but some have moved up to the precision rifle, which is a "better quality rifle." Students can compete at the state playoffs or state championship with a score of "292 or better" (out of 300). Overall, Georgia has a strong history of producing skilled shooters out of its JROTC programs, including some in recent years who have gone on to compete in college and even the Olympics.

Members of this year's CHS Precision Rifle Team are Team Captain Gavin Hawthorne, Jonatan Amaya, Brooke Hilgartner, Dominic Miller, and Hunter Rowan.

This year's Sporter Rifle Team shooters include returning members Marisa Cook and Annie Heflin, and new members Lila Clark, Elizabeth Gomez, Aiden Green, Reynaldo Niz-Ramirez, Summer Reck, and Erika Wynne.

In the fall, cadets compete in JROTC Marksmanship against other schools in the Area 12, which includes all of Georgia and the Jacksonville area, with the Precision and Sporter teams classified in different catagories. In the spring, the entire team competes together as a Georgia High School Association (GHSA) Riflery team, shooting in Area 2, which includes many of the nearby teams that our other sports teams compete against.

"It's a steady growing sport in the state of Georgia at the high school level," according to Commander Baker.

Enjoy the full slideshow below of the new indoor air rifle range and cadets using its electronic scoring system:

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