Rifle Coach's Comments
Another match and another record!
The NCAA national champion Black Knights of West Point really brought out the best in our team. Although we did not steal the victory, we set a new school record for the President's Cup with a 5737 X 6000 for the five-member format. I am proud of our kids!
There was an exciting moment for us early in the match. Right after Chris Hill and Clifton Mulkey rolled in with excellent smallbore performances (584 for both of them); Chris was checking out the scoreboard and said to me, "Coach, we're totally 'in' this match!" Are you kidding? Of course, we were "in" it, and I think the central lesson I took from this match is that WE COULD HAVE WON IT! I will be working with our shooters to help them get over that psychological barrier, so we can really start to see ourselves as an elite-level team.
We did have several other significant victories, however. For the second match in a row, we crossed the 4600 threshold, which is a very good indication of our strength and consistency for this early in the season. Based on that solid trend, I am going to make a little prediction:
We will shoot a school record 4620 or better in the upcoming match against Reno.
A bold prediction, you might think, but I really believe in our team members' ability to step up and deliver when we challenge them.
We also had some strong individual performances, and I was so pleased to see Daniel Cannard knock out a PR of 563, which was 11 points above his previous best! Daniel is such an interesting kid who sometimes marches to the beat of a different drummer. Nevertheless, we love him, and it is thrilling to see the joy and satisfaction that he--and all our members--have when they perform well. Good job Daniel, keep up the good work.
We also have a clutch of first-year smallbore shooters--Jess Palomba, Tom Bender, Justin Raines, and Brian Jarrell--who are giving a mighty effort to become proficient in that challenging event. They are a bit frustrated at times with the slow progress, but I really admire their persistence and tenacity. By and by, they will find their game, and then watch out world, we are going to knock some blocks off!
Beyond our tough shooting, however, was something else that really touched my heart: Service member's pride.
There is something powerful about seeing three dozen cadets from all four major services standing on the line in spirited competition. These are men and women of character, amazing young people who carry freedom's future on their backs. Yet they bear that awesome responsibility with tremendous grace and poise, and I could sense an electricity or power when I was in their midst.
Over the next 20 or 30 years, these future officers will cross paths many times, and their shooting experiences will endear them to each other; they will be apt to call upon each other with the trust and confidence that comes from being feisty adversaries on "the fields of friendly strife." It is reassuring to know that in the decades to come these winners will be standing shoulder to shoulder--just as they were on Sunday--all shooting in the same direction.
We are really looking forward to our next match against the Wolfpack of Reno--remember my little prediction: 4620 or better.
Thanks again for all your support.