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Girls dominate this year's WPIAL rifle championships

As the top 10 finishers from Thursday's WPIAL rifle championships gathered along the side wall of the indoor shooting range at the Dormont-Mt. Lebanon Sportsmen's Club in Canonsburg, Hempfield sophomore Keegan Miller turned to teammate Nicole Metz with a question.

"Aren't there any guys up here?" Miller asked.

No, Keegan. Only girls. The first time in the 15-year history of the tournament that's happened.

"It's a game of finesse, and the girls are just better at it," Hempfield coach Tom Miller said. "You have to teach a boy finesse. You don't have to teach a girl finesse."

Metz captured the title with a score of 200-18x, her six center shots breaking a tie with Yough senior Nikki Kroll, who placed second. Kroll, Keegan Miller and Trinity's Lexie McFarland shot 200-18x with five center shots, but the next tiebreaker — the second 10-shot target — seeded them second through fourth.

"The guys think that they're the better shot, because they're guys and guys shoot guns," Metz said. "But the girls know what they're doing."

The top 14 finishers advance to next week's state-level meet at Frazier Simplex Rifle Club in Washington, a competition sponsored by the Pennsylvania Rifle & Pistol Association and held independent of the PIAA.

That the top 10 were all female did not surprise Kroll — for the two simple reasons that more girls than ever are shooting and those that do are usually eager to learn.

"There's more girls involved in the sport, and the girls are definitely more dedicated than the guys," Kroll said. "They tend to listen better than the guys do."

Another reason females can be successful, Metz said, is because they tend to leave well enough alone and aren't as stubborn as their male teammates.

"Girls don't try to force anything," Metz said. "Guys always try to change what's happening, because they think they know better. Plus, girls pay attention more to the details and fundamentals of shooting than the guys do."

And thus have more of a reason to pay attention during the awards presentation, too.

"Everyone thinks that the guys are better," Metz said. "I love that I can shoot better than the guys."

Rounding out the top 10 Thursday were Emma Uchida (Trinity), Jacque Zollner (Woodland Hills), Casey Doyle (Trinity), Kayla Dowling (Hempfield), Dena Simonelli (Avella) and Christa Zierfel (West Greene).

Mario Scaramouche (Woodland Hills) broke the all-female run by finishing 11th. Rachel Adams (Avella), Jim Loftstead (Bethel Park) and Abbie Bache (Hempfield) round out the 14 state qualifiers.

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