Submitted photo
Beatriz Ishikawa, left, and Mia Rissler, right, with East Juniata rifle trainer Danny Reed.

MIFFLINTOWN – After a year off due to COVID, the East Juniata Air Rifle Team – a mixed team that also includes students from Juniata High School – is back in business.

The plan is to try to compete with other teams and clubs in the area, but due to the fact that there are no other local teams, most of the matches will be postal matches, in which the The team shoots at a designated spot and then sends the scorecards. to the opponent to score.

The team currently exists as a club, which means they are not eligible for PIAA competition (post-season), but the goal is to achieve this status as the program grows.

The team consists of 16 members as well as a team leader, coached by Danny Reed and assistant coaches Bob Schifano and Justin Berkheimer.

The Air Rifle Team was created as an alternative to more traditional sports to involve as many children as possible and have a positive experience at East Juniata and Juniata High Schools. This is only the second full year of the program; it also existed in 2019-2020.

Reed said the sport has had to be suspended for the past two years.

“The pandemic is one of the reasons and Rod Shoop, a teacher and the one who started the program as a first trainer, retired from teaching and moved out of the region. Reed said. “He returned to help revive the sport and was instrumental in organizing the team this year.”

The Air Rifle Team is a winter activity that runs until mid-February and is open to students in grades 9 to 12.

“I work in youth ministry full time with the youth ministries of the central PA, so this is another way for me to connect and build relationships with adolescents,” Reed said. “Coaching has always been something I wanted to do

“The team is doing very well. They learn quickly and know how to follow the advice of coaches very well ”, he added. “I’m really excited to see them grow and improve as the season progresses.”

A few team members shared what it means to them and what they are learning as part of the team.

“Thanks to the air rifle, I learned to be more stable and patient” said freshman Chase Kerstetter.

“I did this two years ago with Mr. Shoop and really enjoyed it so I’m delighted to be back and doing it again”, said junior Andrew Smith.

“I am delighted to see my skills improve during the season”, sophomore Zoey Lower said.

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