Last year, Valdez High School experienced the Mid Alaska Conference Rifle Championships for the first time. It also was the first season of varsity rifle for the Buccaneers.
On Saturday in the E.F. Horton Range at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Patty Center, Valdez experienced being the MAC tournament’s team champion and sweeping the individual titles in smallbore and air rifle.
“It means a lot,” Valdez head coach Jim Marcom said.
Marcom hopes that the success at UAF brings more Valdez student-athletes to the Buccaneers rifle program, as the team will graduate three seniors — half its squad — from this year’s squad.
“I’m hoping I can bring in some freshmen that can fill in the gaps,” he said.
The Buccaneers compiled an aggregate (combined) total of 4,401 points. Valdez also earned the team title in air rifle on Friday with a 2,229 total and added the smallbore team title Saturday after tallying a 2,172 total.
“After last year, the team had a lot of high expectations and really pushed each other to try and exceed what they had done last year,” coach Marcom said.
Besides three seniors, the Buccaneers had two juniors and a sophomore on this season’s roster. One of the juniors, Sydney McKay, missed the MAC tournament because she’s competing at the USA Shooting Winter Air Gun Nationals, which started Saturday at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
One of Valdez’s senior, Tiffany Marcom, the coach’s daughter, shot 576 in the air rifle matches Friday to gain the discipline’s individual title for the second year in a row.
“My position and my skills have definitely improved from last year. It also was a lot of hard work and a lot of dedication,” said Marcom, who hit 33 centers, or bullseyes, among the air-rifle targets.
On Saturday, she registered a 567 in smallbore for a sweep of the individual titles. She hit 23 centers during the smallbore competition.
“It was really good,” Marcom said. “It wasn’t quite the score I wanted but in the end, it’s what I got and I’m proud of it.”
The Hutchison Hawks finished as the overall MAC runners-up with a 4,327 total. The Hawks were second in the air rifle team standings with 2,199 and third in the smallbore with 2,139.
Hutchison senior and team captain Rylan Clavell also is competing in the Winter Air Gun Nationals and head coach Audrey Lammers will see four seniors graduate after this season.
“These kids love each other and it’s a fun team,” Lammers said.
Lammers has coached the four seniors for four seasons, which is how long she’s guided the Hawks.
The Lathrop Malemutes placed third overall with a 4,321 total. The Malemutes were fourth in air rifle (2,182) and second in smallbore (2,139).
The Delta Junction Huskies, last year’s MAC overall champions, placed fourth overall this weekend with a 4,294 total. The Huskies ended in third place in air rifle and (2,185) and fourth in smallbore (2,109).
The West Valley Wolfpack rounded out the overall standings with a 4,067 total. The Wolfpack were fifth each in air rifle (2,160) and smallbore (1.907).
Lathrop’s Kelsey Wade finished as the smallbore individual runner-up with a 564 and she was third in air rifle with the same score.
West Valley’s Diana Maxey came in second in air rifle with a 574 and Valdez’s Sara Bauman was third in smallbore with a 554.
Results are listed on the Scoreboard on Page B2.
Contact News-Miner sports editor Danny Martin at 459-7586. Follow him on Twitter:@newsminersports.