by David Kent | staff writer
Breathing slow and kneeling, freshman Samantha Lippolis lines up the sight of her air rifle with the target across from her, and then she takes the shot after the exhale of a shaky breath. With a second game won in a row, the Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (AJROTC) finished with a 5-3 record for the league, finishing twenty-fifth out of 55 teams.
“We just go there because we have the 3×20 which is 20 shots in each position, standing, kneeling and prone,” freshman Samantha Lippolis said. “And then you have a certain amount of time to do it and then your score is added up out of 600.”
However, this match was different than more ‘traditional’ ones.
“This match was a ‘Virtual’ Match, we shot our portion of the match in the JROTC Range, on paper targets that are then scanned and uploaded to the Orion Results Web Page and matched up with our opponent for that week,” Major Thomas Groggett. “ We shot this match the week of Apr 1-7. You are given a week to shoot (your team can shoot any one of those days), but [you] must upload your targets prior to that Sunday or you forfeit that match.”
Unlike a traditional competition, students and teachers alike don’t need to travel to different places and different states. Instead, they can do it at their ‘home’ school.
“This is one on a few others that we have participated in over the past year. It’s designed so that teams can participate and compete without the cost of having to travel all over the place,” Groggett said. “We (and our Opponents) get the opportunity to compete with teams we wouldn’t otherwise have a chance to, as an example, we have shot against teams from Alaska to Florida. The only requirement is that a team has an Orion License and a scanner to scan their targets after they shoot them.”
Lippolis made 252 shots in total for herself, and her team.
“I love being able to be in rifle, it’s so much fun,” Lippolis said. “The team is great and just being able to like participate and do that is so much fun. I don’t know [why], [I think] it’s just being able to focus on one thing and being able to focus on it and if you get a good shot then it’s like just really rewarding like ‘Yeah I did that!’”
Due to the team’s success, they are able to go to Nationals, something which makes Lippolis overjoyed.
“Well for being my first year I feel like I did pretty well. We’re going to Nationals in June I think, so overall I think I did a very good job. I think we all did amazing, I’m so proud of my team this year. I’m so proud to be part of it, and I’m so proud to be able to go to Nationals!””