Hayley Carroll was in standing position, one eye closed and the other focused on the target 33 feet ahead. With the air rifle balanced by her left hand and pressing against her cheek, she moved her index finger over the trigger.In addition to Robinson, other Fairfax County schools in the Public High School Rifle League (PHSFL) include W.T. Woodson, Lake Braddock, West Potomac and West Springfield. Arlington County also has three varsity teams in the PHSRL: Washington-Lee, Yorktown and Wakefield (which is a new team). Ciarula told the Board Wednesday night that the biggest challenge for Robinson and other schools participating in the sport is finding practice space. Robinson uses the NRA Range.
When she pulled it, there was no whiplash. No smoke and no blast. The sound more closely resembled a pen click than a gunshot, and to the untrained eye, it wasn’t clear where or whether the pellet pierced the paper.
But it didn’t take the binoculars provided by the onlooking coach to know that she hit the bull’s-eye. Carroll, all 5 feet 2 of her, is almost always on target. And on the occasions she did miss during a late December winter break practice at the indoor air rifle range at the Arlington Fairfax Chapter of the IZAAK Walton League, it wasn’t by much.
Carroll, a senior at Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax, is an atypical athlete in an atypical co-ed varsity sport. With 40-plus members, Robinson is the largest and most successful of the 11 teams competing in the Potomac High School Rifle League (PHSRL). Though considered a varsity team, Robinson functions as a club. It doesn’t receive money from the school. Its coaching staff consists of volunteers and equipment is paid for by parents.
Amid challenges both practical and of perception, the niche sport has changed to account for financial and political pressures. But as the national gun debate continues , local high school riflery participation remains as robust as it was 20 years ago. For these athletes, shooting is not political — it’s an enduring outlet for competition and individualism that attracts students uninterested or unable to play for traditional high school athletic teams.
The challenge of practice space hasn't hindered Robinson's team performance however. The post notes:
Robinson has dominated the league, winning PHSRL region titles in 19 of the past 26 years. The team regularly sends its top shooters to Division I programs; this year’s team has a few NCAA prospects, including Carroll; Nicholas Kanellis, who plans to attend a service academy; and Zach Eisenberg, a lacrosse player-turned marksman who is considering North Carolina State.Read the entire article. In the midst of gun ban politicians trying to restrict our rights, articles like this and others that appeared in the last year reporting the popularity of the shooting sports in schools shows we are succeeding in making gun ownership part of our everyday life.