FAIRBANKS — Once the high school rifle season ended in December, several Fairbanks area rifle shooters chose to continue on as a club team, and now they are among the best in the nation.
The Midnight Sun Sharpshooters started out as a group of 10 competitors from Lathrop and Hutchison high schools, and the five remaining shooters will be gunning for a national championship in July.
The five active members of the Sharpshooters — Lathrop senior Joshua Smith, Lathrop junior Kasey Barnes, Lathrop sophomore JT Schnering, Hutchison freshman Amy Gentry, and (alternate) Lathrop freshman Liam Eberhart — will be competing at the CMP National Championships on July 11-14 in Anniston, Ala.
To qualify for the national championships, the team competed in the CMP State 3 position Junior Olympics.
The team had to finish in the top 14 teams in the country to qualify for the national championships. The Sharpshooters qualifying score of 2,326 not only made the top 14 among 42 competing teams but was the highest score in the country.
Barnes led the team with a 584, Schnering followed with a 583, while Gentry posted a 580 and Smith notched a 579. Eberhart had a 575 as the alternate.
Earlier in the season at the Tanana Valley Sportsmen’s Association facility, the Sharpshooters competed in the American Legion National Championships. Their scores were compared against results from around the nation.
The match started with 505 shooters in the first round, who competed for the right to be among the top 30 in the country.
Barnes shot a 578 to become the Alaska state champion and advanced to the second round by being among the top 30 scores in the country.
In the second round, Barnes improved her score to 583 and was among the top 15 shooters, qualifying her for the national championships Aug. 6-11 at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The group is actively fundraising for its trip to the CMP National Championships in Anniston, Ala. Anyone wishing to donate to the cause should contact Ann Barnes at 488-4485.
Contact the News-Miner sports department at 459-7581.