McGuffey finishes 4th at WPIAL team rifle

February 11, 2014

CANONSBURG – Woodland Hills was the dominant team in the WPIAL throughout the regular season in high school rifle, making 800 scores a routine event.

The Wolverines showed Tuesday that their great scores this season weren’t a fluke as they fired an 800-74X at the Dormont-Mt. Lebanon Sportsmen’s Club to win their second WPIAL Team Rifle championship in the past three years.

Not only did the Wolverines shoot an 800, but every shooter on their 10-person team shot a 100 – only the top eight scores count – with a total X count of 90.

“That’s some excellent marksmanship,” said Avella head coach Jim Mounts, whose team finished fifth after earning a spot in the tournament with a second-place finish in Section 1.

Hempfield, the Section 3 champion and defending WPIAL champion, finished second with a 799-64X, while Bethel Park, which finished second to Woodland Hills in Section 2, was third with a 799-60X. McGuffey, the Section 1 champion, was fourth with a score of 797-55X, just edging Avella, which shot a 797-50X.

The top four placewinners qualified for next week’s state tournament.

“There’s a slight consolation,” said McGuffey head coach Howard Ashbrook. “We’re not first, but at least we still get to shoot in the state tournament.”

The top five shooters on each team will shoot in that event. Woodland Hills could have a tough time deciding on a lineup.

Seamus McGuigan, Becca DeVito and Laure Valenti all fired perfect 100-10Xs for the Wolverines, while Maria Brucker, Nick Fisher, Mike Krivi and Sonny Breeger each had 100-9Xs.

By comparison, just three other shooters – Hempfield’s Keegan Miller and Alex Thomas, and Avella’s Dena Simonelli – had 100-10Xs among the other five participating teams, Three, including McGuffey’s Kevin McCosby, had 100-9X.

In addition to McCosby’s score, the Highlanders received 100-8X scores from Jacqueline Foran and Haley Wilkerson, a 100-7X from Courtney Stiles and a 100-6X from Jacob Ramey.

Avella received 100-7X scores from Becca Spencer and Nicole Keller and 100-6X targets from Mitch Olsen and Emily Rush in addition to Simonelli’s perfect score.

The top four shooters from each WPIAL school will return here Thursday for the WPIAL Individual championships, where a number of medalists are back from 2013, including Hempfield’s Abie Bache, the defending champion, Trinity’s Kayla Huffman and Stiles, who finished second and third, respectively.

Dale Lolley has been with the Observer-Reporter since 1993 after previously working at WJAC-TV and the Tribune-Democrat in Johnstown, and The Derrick in Oil City. A native of Fryburg, Pa., he is a graduate of North Clarion High School and the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, where he earned a degree in journalism. He has covered the Pittsburgh Steelers since joining the Observer-Reporter in 1993, and also serves as the outdoors editor. He also is a radio host for Pittsburgh’s ESPN 970-AM, and serves as administrative adviser for the Red & Black, Washington & Jefferson College’s student newspaper.

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