Mary Persons riflery team is now 3-0 after its win over McDonough on Thursday, Jan. 7. The team had a final score of 1,019, despite not having two shooters present for the competition. Of the team’s shooters, Cody Wells scored 261, Ayanna White shot a 262, Jason Weir got 258 and Gavin Sellers shot 238. The two shooters who weren’t present are Aniya Taylor and Abigail Henning. Sergeant Major Christopher DuBose, who coaches the team with assistance from Sergeant Colonel Titus Brown, says they originally had 10 shooters on the team, but four dropped out before the start of the season. The six that remain are all in ROTC at Mary Persons, which is run by Brown and DuBose, but students don’t have to be in ROTC to join the team since it’s a GHSA recognized sport.
Because of COVID, the team has been competing through virtual competitions. Instead of traveling to other school to shoot, each school shoots at their own location. Shooters fire at targets, then scan them into a computer which automatically uploads scores to the website. That way, no one is just looking at targets and saying what shooters scored. Each Thursday, the team arranges a competition with another school and sets a time to shoot. Both teams then shoot at the scheduled time and upload their results. Whoever has the highest score at that point wins.
Each shooter fires at 10 targets from three separate positions: prone, standing and kneeling. A bullseye earns a shooter 10 points. The ring around the bullseye is nine, followed by eight and so on. A shooter can earn maximum 100 points in each position and 300 points total. Five shooters are allowed to compete in competition, with only the top four scores counting.
The Dog’s first competition was on Dec. 3 against Ola High School, in a matchup they won 998 to 947. MP’s second competition was a forfeit against Monroe Area, who had shooters out due to COVID. The Dogs still shot that day though and earned a total of 1,028, their highest so far.
The team practices Monday and Tuesday at a riflery range set up on campus in the ROTC area of the gym. The Dogs had two returning shooters this year but are mostly made up of first timers. DuBose says that no one shooter on the team stands out and that any week, one could outshoot the others.
The Dogs only have 10 scheduled competitions left before the area tournament in March. Mary Persons is in the Area 5 Region, which includes East Coweta, Fayette County, Griffin High School, Lamar County, Balding and Woodward. There are sixteen teams total in the region, although five are not competing due to COVID. The top six teams in the area will move on to State sectionals. Even though this is DuBose’s first year at Mary Persons, he expressed optimism about the team’s chances heading into region play. The team’s next competition and first region contest will be Jan. 21 against Lamar County.