Columbus High School takes top spot in Three-Position Air Rifle championships at Fort Benning

By Paula J. Randall Pagán

U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit Public Affairs Office


                FORT BENNING, Ga. - Three dozen teen-agers from nine high schools in Columbus and Talbotton, Ga., met Feb. 26 in the Georgia High School Association Area 1 Three-Position Air Rifle Championships.  Nine area high schools sent teams of four boys and girls to compete in the match at 4 p.m. at the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit’s Pool International Shooting Complex. 

                The team from Columbus High School won the match with a score of 1,081 points out of a possible 1,200.  The Hardaway High School team came in second, only 1 point behind the winner.  Northside High School took third place with 1,045 points and Jordan High School finished in fourth place at 922.  The highest scoring individual was Candice Watson, a senior at Hardaway High School, who shot a 281 out of a possible 300 points.

                Wednesday’s competition was the last of four matches in which the students have competed; winners were determined by the aggregate scores from each match.  The sponsor of Wednesday’s match was the Military Officers Association of America, which presented trophies to the first-, second- and third-place finishing teams and to the student who fired the highest score.  The top four finishing teams now go on to compete against the champions from Area 3 of Ware County, Ga., next month.

                Besides Columbus, Hardaway, Northside and Jordan, the schools that competed were Carver, Kendrick, Shaw and Spencer high schools from Columbus and Central High School of Talbotton.

                “The Army Marksmanship Unit has been helpful in supplying the ranges for us to use in the match and for training us in how to use the electronic targets and scoring systems,” said retired Army Sgt. Maj. Talmage Glover, the Area 1 coordinator for the Three-Position Air Rifle Championships.  “We appreciate it so much and thank everybody out there at Fort Benning for all their help.”

                There are 125 Georgia high schools competing in the Georgia Area Championships attempting to qualify to compete at the Georgia High School State Championships, which will be conducted at Fort Benning April 12; the top 16 teams - the top two from each area - will compete.

                The USAMU will also host the U.S. National Three-Position Air Rifle Championships March 27 to 29, which is being sponsored by the Civilian Marksmanship Program of Camp Perry, Ohio.

                Three-Position Air Rifle shooting is the most popular and fastest growing form of shooting sports competition for youth of high school age or younger, according to CMP officials.  Three-Position Air Rifle is modeled after Olympic-style shooting competitions.  The competitors fire at targets with air rifles at a distance of 10 meters in three different positions - prone, standing and kneeling.

                “Three-Position Air Rifle shooting is one of the largest growing sports in the United States,” said Michael Behnke, USAMU chief of competitions.  “Georgia has one of the best programs in the nation.  We have the most schools that have the most teams for shooting.”