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Nine members of the Scholastic Action Shooting Program (SASP) Team, sponsored by Colfax Sportsmen’s Club, made the almost 700 mile drive to Marengo, Ohio for the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation’s (SSSF) national matches July 13-21. The Colfax team competed July 18.
This years SASP competition was the largest action shooting match in the world, according to the SSSF. It took place at the Cardinal Shooting Center, which at the same time was also was the site of the national Scholastic Clay Target Program shoot.
Senior/Junior Varsity squad members attending the match were high school graduates Gavin Wenz and Trevor Rothbauer, making their last appearances in Colfax uniforms, and Nokomis Nosker and Jack Kouba. They competed in Rimfire Pistol, Rimfire Optic Rifle and Pistol Caliber Carbine (PCC).
Intermediate squad members at the match were Kimberly Krista, Arianna Pickering, Nathan Nosker and Dalton Sousek. They competed in Rimfire Pistol.
Alex Johnson was the lone Intermediate/Entry Level athlete to make the trip. He competed in Rimfire Optic Rifle.
Team members were accompanied by family members and coaches, including Jim Krista, head coach, and assistant coaches Sam Wenz and Jim Nosker.
Colfax faced tough conditions for the competition. Ohio was under an Excessive Heat Warning July 18. High temperature and high humidity pushed the heat index at the Cardinal Center to almost 110. One team member became ill before practice started and had to be removed to an air conditioned environment. The team’s practice session was 12:30 p.m., but it wasn’t scheduled to compete until 4:30 p.m. Some members returned to air conditioned motels miles away, others stayed at the shooting sports complex, taking in the sites and attending shooting clinics.
By 4:00 p.m. the team had gathered again on the sun baked crushed rock in front the oven-like cement walled, open top shooting bays, waiting for a safety briefing by shoot officials. It was a long, hot and unrewarding wait. At a little after 5:00 p.m. Jim Krista, with approval of match officials, gave the team a safety briefing himself, which differed very little from the briefings they receive on their home range. Not until 5:30 p.m. did officials turn up to run the team through the match.
Each course of fire presents five steel targets. The size, shape and location of the targets are different and are dependent on the rules for that particular course of fire. There are six possible courses of fire, but each team only faces four of them. Athletes address each course of fire individually and are allowed a magazine loaded with 10 rounds of ammunition. At the start beep they shoot each target in whichever order they desire, except that the target with the orange painted post is the stop target and must be shot last. A timer records time elapsed between the first and last shot. Any missed targets add 3 seconds to the time.
Each athlete addresses each course of fire five times. His or her fastest four times are recorded. The cumulative time of each squad member is added together to yield the squad’s total time. The squad with the lowest total wins.
Because the Sr./Jr. Varsity squad was competing with three different firearms, the nine Colfax team members effectively became 17 athletes needing to go through each course of fire. That calculates out to 340 separate strings of fire, which in turn requires almost 6 hours of range time. Fortunately, another set of match officials eventually showed up, allowing the team to be split into two groups. That allowed them to finish competing by about 9:15 p.m., with shadows growing long and the shooting bays growing dim.
High heat and the long day, along with fading light towards the end, took its toll on team members and the athletes’ times were not what would have been expected under better conditions.
Lead by Wenz’ 43.54 second time, the Sr./Jr. Varsity rimfire pistol squad placed 15th in the nation. Wenz was 4th in the nation in the Sr./Jr. Varsity Men’s Division. Rothbauer was 20th in Senior Varsity Men’s Division and Kouba was 40th in Sr./Jr. Varsity Men’s. Nokomis Nosker placed 22nd in the Sr./Jr. Varsity Ladies’ Division.
In Rimfire Optic Rifle, the same squad placed 17th among Sr./Jr. Varsity teams. Wenz was also 17th in the Sr./Jr. Varsity Men’s Division, Kouba was 36th. Rothbauer was 38th in the Men’s Senior Varsity Division. Nokomis Nosker was 11th in the Ladies’ Sr./Jr. Varsity Division.
In Pistol Caliber Carbine the Colfax squad came in 14th among all Senior Division Squads, meaning Sr./Jr. Varsity and Senior Varsity were grouped together. Wenz placed 20th among Men’s Sr./Jr. Varsity athletes, Kouba was 35th. Rothbauer was 40th among Men’s Varsity competitors. In the Ladies’ Sr./Jr. Varsity Division Nokomis Nosker placed 5th; among all women shooters, which includes Varsity and Collegiate, she was 25th.
Intermediate Rimfire Pistol Squad members claimed 12th place in the nation. Kimberly Krista was 13th in the Ladies’ Intermediate/Advanced Division, Pickering was 15th. Sousek was 24th in the Men’s Division of Intermediate/Advanced. Nathaniel Nosker was 44th.
Johnson, shooting without a squad, placed 26th in the Men’s Division of Intermediate/Entry Level Rimfire Optic Rifle.
Colfax Scholastic Action Shooting Team consists of individual elementary, middle, and high school student pistol and/or rifle shooters ages 8 through 20. All athletes must maintain passing grades. A collegiate team is also possible, but one isn’t currently organized.
Athletes are placed into four person squads, which makes up a competitive unit. Squads are organized into four different divisions at elementary, middle school, and high school levels which are differentiated by age and firearm used for competition: rimfire pistol, centerfire pistol, 1911 centerfire pistol, rimfire rifle with optics, rimfire rifle without optics, pistol caliber carbine. The sport provides a level playing field for all genders. There is no limit to the number of athletes on a team.
More information on the Colfax SASP Team is available from Jim Krista, head coach, 715-554-1078, or email email@example.com. More information on its sponsoring organization is available from George Richards, Colfax Sportsmen’s Club president, 715-962-2238, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional information on the Scholastic Action Shooting Program is available from its web page at https://sssfonline.org/scholastic-pistol-program-spp/