Danielle Varnam practices in the range at West.

Blowing The Competition Out of the Water

Rifle Team places ninth in National Competition.

March 19, 2018

February 9-10 West Brunswick’s JROTC Army Rifle Team was selected to participate in the JROTC National Championship in Anniston, AL. The team placed ninth out of all participating high school JROTC Rifle Teams from across the nation.

“Just to have been selected to go is an honor,” said Colonel Calisto, who heads the rifle team program. Calsito and the team had very high expectations going into the competition.  

“They exceeded them,” Calisto said. The team improved from their previous place of seventeenth up to ninth.

According to Rory Hoffert’s recount of the trip, the first day in Anniston the team was given the opportunity to practice on the range where they would be shooting for the competition. They spent their downtime in Alabama bonding: going to different restaurants and swimming at their hotel pool. Their competition consisted of shooting at electric targets, which they were not used to.

“It’s like training in the desert and then going to the jungle,” said Eion Barrett.

The team was in a different environment in Alabama; the targets were electronic and the range was much larger than they were used to. Though the change in environment was difficult to adjust to, the team persevered and pushed through.

“You can prepare to a point, and then when you really get in the competition, you don’t know what’s gonna happen,” Danielle Varnam said. Their improvement in the competition still proved that the team is still capable of performing while not in the best conditions.

Besides the adjustment to a new type of range, Hoffert faced another problem. During the competition, her sight broke, giving her a disadvantage.

“Things happen, malfunctions happen,” Hoffert said. “I know that we are a great team, it’s just, things happen. […] We just gotta keep our cool.”

Despite Hoffert’s malfunction and the change of the environment, the team enjoyed themselves and even improved their performance.  

“We all really did try our best, and we all really wanted this for everybody,” Hoffert said. “I think it’s amazing, the stuff we get to do as a team.”

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