|FCHS team is first in Air Force to place nationally|
Franklin County High School’s Air Force JROTC Marksmanship team placed fourth in the nation Saturday at the All-Service National competition. In the front row, from left, are Mike Barton, Jonathan Gove and Cody Ashby. In the back row are team head coach Tracey Carter and Carter Santrock.
Friday, March 29, 2013
By STACEY HAIRSTON - Staff Writer
Franklin County High School's Air Force JROTC Marksmanship team placed fourth in the nation Saturday at the All-Service National competition in Anniston, Ala., making them the first Air Force team to place nationally in the history of the program.
After taking the number one spot in the nation last month at the U.S. Air Force National Marksmanship competition, the team went into the All-Service competition in second place behind Killeen (Texas) Army ROTC.
The All-Service Nationals included over 2,800 teams from the Army, Navy and Marines.
"After many challenges in the first of two rounds, they were 11th overall," said coach Lt. Col. Tracey Carter (Ret.).
During round two, the team battled back by shooting a very high score of 2177, he added.
"On the first day, we were ranked 27th out of 28, which was the worst they have ever shot in their lives," said Carter. "I'm not sure if it was nerves or pressure or the need for more warm-up time, but I called a team meeting. I reminded them that their school, community and the Air Force expected certain things from them."
"I told them their bad day was over and they needed to step up and make some history," he added. "That is exactly what they did."
Individual honors were awarded to two members of the team in addition to the fourth-place win.
Mike Barton placed 10th, making him the first individual Air Force member to place in the history of the program.
Johnathan Gove received the Junior Distinguished Shooter award, which has only been given out to 540 shooters in the history of the program, according to Carter.
"They came back from 11th place on the first day to fourth place on the second day, so to come back like that is pretty amazing. I am very proud of this group," said Carter. "We're the first to break the sound barrier (by placing nationally), so hopefully, other Air Force teams will see this and go on to possibly win the whole thing."
The FCHS team heads to Ohio next week to compete in the Civilian Marksmanship Program Regional Club National Championships, which includes teams from the Boy Scouts, 4-H, American Legion and other community shooting clubs.
"Right now, we are ranked number one going in," said Carter. "I'm hoping this last competition has given the team the momentum to win the next one because they already know they can do it."
Currently, the FCHS team holds the title of 2013 Air Force National Champions.
"I don't think people realize the amount of pressure these kids are under," said Carter. "Just to enter the range is very intimidating, and there are a lot of important people watching with high expectations."
"For them to do so well and receive all these accolades is a very big deal for them," he added.