Hempfield rifle team right on target
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Watching the way Hempfield's shooters congregated around Spartans rifle coach Tom Miller after the team won the WPIAL rifle championship last week, it was clear they appreciate their coach.
Even if it sometimes doesn't seem like it.
“I push them a little bit, but I have high expectations for them,” Miller said. “There's times they don't like me because my expectations are so high — but they usually do pretty well (at WPIAL championships).”
They sure do. A year after taking second place and three years after winning its first WPIAL rifle championship, Hempfield won another last week at the Dormont/Mt. Lebanon Sportsman's Club in Canonsburg.
That followed a state championship last year, and two days after the WPIAL team championships, junior Abbie Bache followed Nicole Metz as the second consecutive WPIAL individual champion from Hempfield.
Hempfield appears it could be in the early stages of establishing a WPIAL rifle dynasty.
“They all work real hard, and I just have high expectations for them — and I don't accept anything less,” Miller said.
“We start every year off with the same two goals. Goal No. 1 is to bring new shooters into our program. ... I strongly encourage freshmen and sophomores to come to our program, and we work real hard to get them acclimated into the program.
“Goal No. 1 is to build a team for next year. And the second goal is to win the WPIAL championship as team. The state is a bonus.”
Hempfield competed in the state championships at the Frazier Simplex Rifle Club in Washington earlier this week. Results were not known until teams from the eastern side of Pennsylvania competed in their own relays.
Whether Hempfield defends its state title or not, the Spartans certainly appear as if they're well-positioned to attain Miller's goal of building a team that can compete for championships next season.
Of the team's 10 shooters in the lineup for the WPIAL team championships, only two were seniors. All four of the individuals who finished among the top 14 in the WPIAL and thereby qualified for the state championships were juniors — Bache, Keegan Miller, Kelly O'Neill and Alex Thomas.
“We work really hard to get where we're at,” said Keegan Miller, who is Tom's daughter. “We've had our ups and downs and we fight through it. We come together as a team, even when it's hard and we have to fight through stuff. We've had a good year.”
Senior Kayla Dowling narrowly missed out on qualifying for the state championships. Senior Alex Pedder, junior Tyler Mincin, sophomore Nate Ligus and freshman Jake Prinkley and Mason Kemerer were the other starters.
“With our team, we have a different drive,” Bache said. “Other teams, when they're practicing for a match, they say they're practicing to beat the (next opponent). Our thing is, we practice and practice so much to beat a number. We don't care about who we're shooting or where we're shooting. We just want to get our personal goals.”
The Spartans are doing that with regularity these days. Bache's plight is a textbook example of Hempfield's recent successes. She was alerted of the sport by way of a school announcement during her freshman year.
“ ‘If you want to think about joining, go to the auditorium,' ” Bache recalled. “And I did. Coach seemed really nice, so I came and tried out, and it went better than I thought it would, so I stuck around — and now I'm here.”
A WPIAL champion.
Chris Adamski is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers claim former Cowboys cornerback Webb
- Secret judicial ruling blocks release of sexually explicit emails
- Healthy PA expands number of recipients but cuts benefits
- Dairy Queen victim of malware attack
- Franklin Regional security guard fighting to get job back
- Harrison shines again as Pirates clip Reds, 2-1
- Next hurdle for health care likely tax season
- Veteran Keisel settles into role with Steelers
- Valley edges emotional Burrell team on OT field goal
- Google tests Project Wing drone delivery
- High school roundup: Greensburg Salem shocks Gateway in opener