Wednesday, January 24, 2018
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Frees, Mounts, take third at Leagues

While Manheim Central senior Zach Waltz might not have seen winning the Lancaster-Lebanon League individual rifle championship in his immediate future when he awoke Saturday morning, he saw the targets well enough at the event to make it happen.

“I’ve been shooting pretty well lately,” said Waltz, who plans on attending Cornell University to major in viticulture and enology, which involves wine making and vineyard development. “I feel like I have been improving as the season has gone on. I didn’t expect this, but it is a pleasant surprise.”

Waltz earned the only perfect score of 200 in the 42-shooter field to win the individual crown at Conestoga Valley High School. Freshman Willoh Robbins of Garden Spot finished second with a 199 and three centers while Evan Frees of Ephrata placed third with 199 and two centers.

“This was my first time (in the event),” Robbins said. “There definitely was some pressure, but it was a lot of fun. I made a little mistake — I double shot, so that cost me a point. Other than that, I did pretty well.”

Last year’s individual championship runner-up and this season’s Marksman of the Year, Julia Irvin of Garden Spot, finished ninth with 199.

This year’s event was unlike last year’s, when four 200’s were recorded for the first time and a shoot-off between Irvin and eventual champ Elizabeth Hess of Manheim Central took place. Hess graduated last year.

Waltz shot in Relay C, the third group of eight shooters, and posted 100 with three centers on his first target and 100 on his second target. He was one of only six shooters with a perfect first target and among 10 who had a perfect second target.

“I feel like I am in a comfortable groove right now,” said Waltz, who placed 19th last year. “Everything, the positioning, the breathing, just feels right and it all comes together.”

Irvin led this season’s AllStars with her 99.8 (out of a possible 100) match average. Rounding out this season’s L-L All-Star team with Robbins, Waltz and Frees are Bridget Meyer of Manheim Township, Karly Potts of Ephrata, Ryan Caley of Elizabethtown, Katie Rathman of Ephrata, Samantha Walsh of Garden Spot and Jarod Lusk of Manheim Township.

Rathman, a junior, finished off the pace Saturday with a 194. She scored 97 on each of her two targets, which was slightly below her match average of 99.

“I didn’t shoot my best, usually I shoot better,” said Rathman, who joined the Ephrata team as a freshman. “I think it could have been a bit of nerves. I’m OK. It still was a fun thing to do.”

Caley, a senior who plans on attending HACC and eventually getting a criminal justice degree, also finished with 194 after a 96 on the first target and a 98 on the final target. He placed fifth a year ago.

“I guess I picked a bad day to have an off day,” said Caley, who also plays baseball for Elizabethtown. “You have to keep yourself calm to shoot well and that’s sometimes hard to do at a big event like this. This sport definitely takes patience.”

Garden Spot, which won the regular-season team title with an 11-1 record, was awarded the championship trophy for that achievement on Saturday and also captured the unofficial team crown at the event with an overall score of 990 and four centers. Manheim Township placed second with 989 and 6 centers while Ephrata captured third with 985 and 5 centers.

“Some people say this really isn’t a sport,” said Robbins, who ran cross country in the fall and plans on running for the Garden Spot track team this spring. “I can understand how they see it like that. There is not a lot to the physical part of it, but it takes a special person to be good at it. You have to be able to focus and calm down to compete and make your shots. It’s definitely a sport to me. It takes skill and mental ability. I just don’t always think we get enough recognition.”

The league’s Sportsmanship Award went to Elizabethtown, with Garden Spot finishing second.

“I started off shooting cereal boxes and jugs of water when I was nine,” said Elizabethtown senior Kayla Eck, who placed sixth on Saturday. “That was the best thing. It led to me joining the team and here I am. It’s a fun sport and this event brings all the teams together for a fun day.”

L-L League Championship
1.200Z. Waltz, MC22.195N. Hillegas, MT
2.199W. Robbins, GS23.195K. Lanphar, W
3.199E. Frees, Eph24.195R. Mehaffey, Eph
4.199Z. Musser, MT25.195J. Hershey, GS
5.199L. Katch, MT26.194J. Geyer, E-town
6.199K. Eck, E-town27.194K. Helock, Eph
7.199S. Walsh, GS28.194E. Nave, CV
8.199K. Potts, Eph29.194R. Caley, E-town
9.199J. Irvin, GS30.194A. Griffith, E-town
10.198J. Lusk, MT31.194A. McFarland, MT
11.198S. Johnson, Eph32.194K. Rathman, Eph
12.198A. Stone, MC33.193D. Beard, W
13.198B. Noecker, W34.193J. Miller, MC
14.198B. Shirk, GS35.192Schweitzer, W
15.198B. Meyer, MT36.191A. Stone, MC
16.198M. Bitner, E-town37.190K. Canady, CV
17.197C. Stoltzfus, CV38.190C. Essig, W
18.197S. Mahan, MC39.190W. King, CD
19.197G. Roland, E-town40.187E. Diehl, GS
20.196K. Musser, MC41.187M. Turoczi, CV
21.195A. Reed, W42.185C. Poehner, CV

L-L Leauge Championship
Team Scores
1.990Garden Spot
2.989Manheim Township
4.984Manheim Central
7.958Conestoga Valley