Trinity's Huffman wins in WPIAL rifle to cap perfect season
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Trinity's Kayla Huffman knows as well as anyone how tight the WPIAL individual rifle championships can be.
Huffman finished second to Hempfield's Abbie Bache last winter — by recording three fewer center shots.
This time, Huffman found herself on the good end of a three-way tie for the top spot.
Huffman shot 200-19x with seven center shots Thursday at the Dormont-Mt. Lebanon Sportsmen's Club to break a tie with Woodland Hills' Sonny Breeger and Hempfield's Tyler Mincin.
Both shot 200-19x, though Breeger had four center shots, Mincin two.
Huffman, who had four center shots on her first target and three on her second, was one of four shooters to cap a perfect season, meaning she shot 100s on every target.
“It was kind of expected,” Huffman said of winning a WPIAL title. “I had a perfect season, so if I screwed up now, it was like, ‘OK, great job.' ”
The perfect-season awards — also given to Avella's Dena Simonelli, McGuffey's Courtney Stiles and Ellen Walker of Bethel Park — are named for Dave Cramer, a longtime rifle contributor who passed away in 2012.
“For me, it was amazing,” Huffman said. “Dave Cramer was the guy I bought my gun off of. So to have a piece of paper saying you got a perfect season was special.”
The top 15 shooters at Thursday's event earned medals, while the top 14 advanced to the state shoot — not a PIAA event — next week at Frazier-Simplex Rifle Club in Washington.
Two days after Woodland Hills captured the WPIAL team title for the second time in three years, Breeger turned in a 100-10x with three center shots and a 100-9x with one to edge Mincin.
“I was excited,” Breeger said. “I was honestly really, really excited. I've been waiting for this thing for a while. It's just a bonus to us, but I took it a little more serious since this is my senior year.
“I wasn't really nervous because we were just here Tuesday and won.”
Mincin shot 100-8x during the team competition Tuesday, but he improved quite a bit by shooting 100-9x (1) and 100-10x (1) on Thursday.
“It was a great day,” Mincin said. “I can't thank my coach or team enough. Without their support, I couldn't have done this. Especially my coach; he really pushed me, and my team made it a fun experience.”
Rounding out the top five were Woodland Hills' Maria Brucker and Washington's Marta Zimmerman.
Woodland Hills' Becca DeVito, Mt. Lebanon's Alex Tallarico and Kaelyn Chick, Bethel Park's Rebecca Kinzel and Woodland Hills' Mike Krivi finished in spots six through 10.
Avella's Becca Spencer, Trinity's Mikayla DeMarino and Collin Page, Simonelli and Hempfield's Keegan Miller were the other five medalists.
Huffman's victory marks the third consecutive year a female has won the individual title after Hempfield's Nicole Metz did it in 2012 and Bache did it last season.
“It's a tough competition,” Mincin said. “Everyone is out there to shoot their best. Whenever you're out there to shoot the best, it comes close; center shots … it does come down to that. There's no one person that stands out. Everyone here is exceptionally good. This is the best of the best here.”
Jason Mackey is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Mackey_Trib.
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