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Perfect Berwick edges EHS rifle team

The Emmaus rifle team battled three quality opponents during the first two weeks of January.

The Green Hornets lost their first match of the season last Thursday in Berwick, 500-499. Emmaus had four perfect shooters - Griffin Lake, Aubrey Marshall, Zach Brenner, Shannon Anders - and one 99 shooter in Bryce Dunn.

The loss came two days after another fine match, this time with Southern Lehigh. This battle ended with a 500-500 tie, but with Emmaus earning 43 bull’s-eyes and the Spartans 35. In this one Sanaiya O’Neal, Kayden Issa, Lake, Dunn and Brenner were all perfect.

In the year’s first match on Jan. 5 the Hornets defeated Freedom, 500-495. Madison Carriero, Lake, Anders, Marshall and Brenner all shot 100s.

Only two regular season matches remain before the postseason tournaments begin Jan. 26 with the All-Star Tournament, followed by the team tournament and the state individual and team matches.

“Our postseason is a little complicated if you’re not familiar with it,” Emmaus coach Michael Schuler said. “In order to get invited to the All-Star Tournament the Northeast Pennsylvania Rifle League doesn’t have any specific requirements for the students; it’s all coaches’ picks.”

The team tournament invites are simple.

“It’s the top four teams according to overall record for the regular season,” Schuler said. “From that tournament, the top three teams represent NEPARL at the state team tournament. From there, it’s almost an every man for themselves idea; each team competes against every other team in the state, but there is still some cohesion.”

While the NEPARL regular season is a competitive time, in the postseason teams from the league will pull for one another when squaring off against teams from the other side of the state.

“Obviously every one of us wants to win for ourselves, but I know personally that if Emmaus doesn’t win it, I’d rather one of the other two NEPARL teams win than a western team,” the coach said.

Finally, the invitation requirements for individual shooters have changed from “shoot in at least six matches” to placing in the Top 20 for the season.

“In addition to that, every school is able to bring one shooter with no requirements on it,” Schuler said. “Frankly, that’s kind of made our job a little harder; in order to qualify for Top 20, a student can’t miss more than one match. The Top 20 is calculated by taking a student’s eight best targets out of nine. Because of this, we don’t feel that we have the ability to change our roster up a little bit and get some newer shooters some good match experience that they can really benefit from.”

The state team matches are scheduled to run through Feb. 14.