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Hernando County high school air rifle team prepares for national championship

Posted at 1:40 PM, Jan 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-10 16:17:31-05

HERNANDO COUNTY, Fla. — For the second straight year, the Air Rifle Team at Central High School has won a state championship. It’s quite the accomplishment considering they don’t even have a shooting range.

When the school day comes to an end, the lunch tables are torn down and a shooting range is put up inside the school cafeteria in Hernando County.

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“A lot of the other schools have their own ranges, their own buildings,” said team Captain Leeann Wallace. “So we don’t have as much time to practice as other schools do since we have to tear down and set up our range.”

However, Wallace said they never wanted to play the underdog role. They knew they could shoot just as well as anyone else.

“It’s all about your work ethic and your dedication and how much you want to do it,” said Wallace.

For the past two years, Central High School has been doing its best, firing their way to two straight Navy JROTC State Championships.

Winning these championships also meant dethroning the Goliath of the sport, Oviedo High School, who had held the title for 15 straight years.

“We kind of took their title, those two banners they don’t have hanging up in there, they are ours now,” said team member Brent Howard.

Howard said instead of focusing on things they couldn’t control, they targeted on areas they did control.

“The slightest change in blood sugar can cause you to shake and move and then you throw the shot,” said Howard.

The goal is now winning a national championship in Arizona this February.

Coach Michael Arnett said this team has proven they can hit the bulls-eye against anyone, any time and obviously, anywhere.

“Anything that a coach wants a team to be those kids stepped up to the plate and did that,” said Arnett.