Plum's Kolar, LeClair punch tickets to state shoot
Senior Scott Kolar competed in his final WPIAL individual rifle championship shoot last week, and he knew he had one more opportunity to make it to states.
Junior Melissa LeClair wanted to call on her experience at previous WPIAL tournaments as she also was attempting to move to the state tournament.
Both achieved their goals, as Kolar and LeClair finished among the top 14 at the WPIAL championships at the Dormont/Mt. Lebanon Sportsmans Club in Canonsburg.
LeClair took fourth, while Scott Kolar finished 11th.
The individual champion, Hempfield junior Abbie Bache, had a 200-19x, and she was one of three shooters to finish with that score. She won the tiebreaker — total number of center shots — with eight, while the other two finished with five center shots.
“Melissa finished with a 200-18x and almost won it,” head coach Scott Kolar said.
“Scott shot a 200-17x and was all the way down in 11th. It shows you how only one X can make all the difference. But Melissa and Scott did a great job.”
LeClair and Scott Kolar had competed at the individual championships before, as did senior Jake Danik.
Danik, coach Kolar said, didn't fare as well as he had hoped, as he ended in 66th place with a 197-10x.
“Jake succumbed to the pressure and had one of the worst days he's ever had,” coach Kolar said. “He was really hard on himself, but that didn't take away from all that he accomplished the past four years. He was a great shooter for Plum.”
Ian Michaels and Mikaela Zacher each made their WPIAL individual debuts, and Michaels finished with a 200-14x for 28th place, while Zacher had a 199-16x for 37th place.
The top 14 shooters from the WPIALs joined 14 shooters from the eastern side of the state in the PIAA competition Monday through Wednesday.
The WPIAL shooters had a choice of one of the three days at the Frazier Simplex Gun Club in Washington.
The eastern shooters competed at a different location, and the scores were tabulated to determine the place winners for the 28 competitors.
Coach Kolar said Scott Kolar and LeClair were set to shoot on Tuesday, and the results were not available as of deadline for this week's edition.
As a team, Plum entered the six-team WPIAL team competition on Feb. 12 with designs on a top finish, as the top four teams qualified for states.
However, the Mustangs fell short of their goals and finished sixth with a score of 796-56x.
“It was frustrating to say the least,” coach Kolar said. “We were an 800 team, and we had proven that in practices and matches over the second half of the season. The night before, we shot an 800 with 72x. But WPIALs is a high-pressure situation, and it was proven with some of the other team scores.”
Hempfield, who finished first in Section 3 this season ahead of second-place Plum, won the team title with an 800-66x, followed by Woodland Hills (800-57x), McGuffey (798-64x), Avella (797-62x) and Trinity (797-59x).
Danik and Scott Kolar both had 100-9x scores to lead Plum, and both were awarded recognition to the all-tournament team for shooting one of the top 10 scores during the team championship.
LeClair and Zacher both shot 100-7x, while Anastasia Klonowski (99-8x), Mike Reddick (99-6x), Michaels (99-6x) and Josh Repasi (99-4x) rounded out the Plum scores.
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at email@example.com.