Hempfield rifle team has good shot at WPIALs | TribLIVE.com
News

Hempfield rifle team has good shot at WPIALs

Shawn Annarelli

Hempfield’s rifle team will shoot Tuesday for the opportunity to repeat as WPIAL champions.

First-year coach Jason Wilkinson — he was an assistant last season — put his team’s chances of winning another title into simple terms.

“If they perform to their ability, we will win WPIALs,” he said. “If they perform to their ability, I have no doubt they can shoot an 800 target with a high x count. But, you know, if another team shoots an 800 with an extremely high x count, I’ll shake all their hands just the same if they’d won it.”

Senior captain Kayla Brownfield feels the same way.


Teams such as Butler, Woodland Hills, Trinity and Bethel Park are the most likely to dethrone the Spartans, but Hempfield’s greatest challenge will be its confidence.

“I think we are going to win it,” Brownfield said. “I really think we will, but I know some people have talked about how we should at least get second or third. We should be more confident that we are going to win it.”

Hempfield is beatable — it lost to Butler in early January after a two-week break in the season. The loss means the Spartans will have the same 7-1 section record it had going into the WPIAL championships last year.

The loss also was a lesson the Spartans aren’t untouchable on an off day, but Hempfield has been nearly perfect since mid-January, scoring a league-high 799.92 average in six matches.

The Spartans recorded six of the league’s top 15 scores in that stretch. No other team has more than two top-15 scores.

“When you get to this point, it’s similar to football on any given Sunday,” Wilkinson said. “The difference is in football, when you throw two incomplete passes, you have time to make that up. In this, if one kid drops a point and then another kid drops a point, it’s over. It’s done. There’s no getting it back.”

Wilkinson is counting on seniors such as Brownfield, Emily Thomas and Charidan Updyke to keep the team composed.

“What keeps it so fun and interesting is this group of kids, be it freshmen or seniors, is wonderful,” Wilkinson said. “I can’t say enough about how much the seniors have helped me with my first year and transition and how much they’ve done to help and support each other. This is a high-character group.”

Brownfield’s presence is like having a second coach, Wilkinson said.

“Every time someone has a problem, she is right there to help, which all of our seniors do,” Wilkinson said. “She will put them in a position to help them improve. She’s amazing. If I died today, she’d have no problem taking everyone to WPIALs and coaching them.”

There are five shooters who have a chance Thursday to win individual WPIALs: Thomas, Brownfield, Updyke and freshman twins Lydia and Levi Dunn.

Thomas has the highest average score on the team.

“Emily can be the fastest shooter, which comes into play at WPIAL individuals with 20 minutes to shoot two targets,” Wilkinson said. “Speed is a factor. Emily has done this since she was young: excellent concentration and doesn’t get rattled easy. We’ve got a few who can win it.”


Shawn Annarelli is a freelance writer.


Shawn Annarelli is a freelance writer.


Categories: Sports
Tags:
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.