In what can only be described as a “David and Goliath” confrontation, the Air Force ROTC Rifle Team of Arizona’s Buckeye High School scored a second place in the East/West Valley Pellet League 5-week competition, as well as second place in the East/West Valley Finals. Team member Matthew Velazquez earned three individual awards along with being the number three ranked individual shooter.
Shalyndria Stewart, bound for Northern Arizona University and one of the team’s top shooters, came in 9th out of 508 in the Air Force Nationals Postal meet.
According to Senior Aerospace Science Instructor and team coach, Lt. Col. Tom McClain, the team worked hard for these results and had a lot of help. “Competitive shooting at this level is a matter of millimeters and requires total concentration. It also requires great equipment. Our shooters had both this year,” he said. “Our team’s disciplined practices and attention to detail brought these results. The team missed first place by only 30 points. They also had brand new Crosman Challenger PCP Competition Air Rifles to take into competition.
“The combination of hard work, unwavering focus, good preparation and our two, great Crosman Challengers (with six more on the way) all contributed to their success. I’m very proud of the team and the individual shooters’ performance. The JV team came in 1st in both the 5-week League and 1st in the Finals.
”Having placed 6th out of 49 Air Force teams, their varsity team has been invited to compete in the Air Force JROTC Nationals at Camp Perry, OH on February 9th, 2012. The team is waging a fundraising campaign to raise the $5,000 to go to the national competition.