By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — For the second year in a row, the scholastic pistol team sponsored by the Colfax Sportsmen’s Club has taken first place in the state competition.
The pistol team also took fourth place at the national level this summer as well as first place at the Iowa State Championship.
The Colfax Sportsmen’s Club held an awards program for team members at the Dunn County Colfax Shooting Complex south of Colfax July 24.
In addition to earning first place in the Wisconsin State Championship at the varsity level, the Colfax team also won first place in junior varsity.
The intermediate team took second place at state, and the rookie division also took second place.
At the national championship in Ohio, the Colfax varsity team took fourth place, while the junior varsity team took 13th place.
More than 40 teams competed at the national championship.
The Colfax scholastic pistol team starts practicing in the spring in order to be ready for the state and national competitions during the summer.
The state championship was held June 12 at Oconomowoc, and the national championship was held in Marengo, Ohio, July 9 through July 16.
“The scholastic action shooting program is a team sport where team members compete as four person squads shooting circular or rectangular steel plates in a timed event,” explained Jim Kraft, one of the coaches.
The students range in age from nine to 18 and work together weekly on training, he said.
Senior varsity team members included James Budnaitis of Eau Claire; James DeLambert of Onalaska; Trey Gullickson of Colfax; Trin Gunnufson of Colfax; Caslin Kasten of Elk Mound; and Ethan Leach of Colfax.
Senior/junior varsity team members included Kimberly Krista of Arkansaw; Keharron Bogstad of Eau Claire; Nokomis Nosker of Colfax; Trevor Rothbauer of Colfax; McKenna Yingst of Colfax; and Jackson Zunker of Menomonie.
Intermediate team members included Benjamin Affolter of Baldwin; Craig Ervin of Altoona; Kali Risler of Colfax; Taylor Risler of Colfax; Will Wanish of Colfax.
Kimberly Krista also participated in the rookie class.
The “most improved” award went to Caslin Kasten.
The “top gun” award went to James DeLambert, who came in third at the national competition.
The leadership award went to Trey Gullickson, and Kimberly Krista received the “Rock of the Marne” award for prevailing through pre-season issues with always a smile on her face.
The “Rock of Marne” award is named after the second battle of the Marne River just outside of Paris during World War I. In July of 1918, the French army had been pushed back to the banks of the Marne, and the United States 3rd Infantry Division was in the center of the line against German forces with superior numbers.
As the French forces were being driven back, the French generals in charge told the 3rd Infantry Division to fall back, to which the United States general in charge replied, in French, “We will remain.”
The United States 3rd Infantry Division held their position and those positions abandoned by the French and thereby saved Paris, earning the nickname “Rock of the Marne” for their efforts.
Krista is the youngest team member and also is the only rifle shooter on the team.
Jackson Zunker won the “Golden 2×4” for his efforts to inflict the most damage on target holders.
Key sponsors for the Colfax pistol team were Brian Hostak of Colfax, the Colfax Sportsmen’s Club, and Dorothy and Dave Enger of Colfax.
In addition to Kraft, other coaches and volunteers included Tony Anderson, John Budnaitis, Jim Nosker and Jennifer Leach.
Presenters of the awards on July 24 were Colfax Sportsmen’s Club President George Richards, Brian Hostak (sponsor) and Dunn County Sheriff Dennis Smith.
Kraft said he has set a goal for the Colfax pistol team to be third in the national championship next year.
This is the second year that the Colfax scholastic pistol team has competed at the state and national level.