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Central High School ROTC wins air rifle state championship against team that held title for 15 years

Posted: 7:04 PM, Dec 06, 2018
Updated: 2018-12-07 00:04:53Z

HERNANDO COUNTY, Fla. — For the first time in history, Central High School won the air rifle state championship and the team’s humble dedication has paid off. 

Every day members of the Central High ROTC air rifle team move tables in the school’s cafeteria so they can practice.

"This is the only place from inside the school that we have 33 feet," said Michael Arnett, Master Gunnery Sergeant, and Central High ROTC instructor. 

From 33 feet, Melissa Geiger says focus and dedication is the only way to hit a target the size of the tip of a grain of rice.

"This is what we’ve been working for every day for years. We shoot every day, and set up the range every day," said Geiger, Central High ROTC air rifle team captain.

Last weekend the team of four competed against 30 teams statewide including Oviedo High School where the tournament was held. Oviedo has owned the championship for 15 years and has its own building devoted to air rifle training.

"It's like going to Alabama and beating Alabama," said Arnett.

And that’s exactly what the team did.

"It was really amazing. It was a huge accomplishment for us just to go out there and know that all the hard work we put in and all the dedication finally paid off," said Geiger. 

Air rifle shooting is one of the only sports where females get to compete directly against males.

"The females can go out there and we can compete on the same level as them and beat them because it's usually females that dominate the sport," said Geiger.

The undefeated team will go to Jacksonville to compete in a tournament this weekend and try to continue their winning streak.