Expectations are high this season for the SFCC Shooting Sports team coming off the best season in the brief history of the program, which included 12 student-athletes who qualified for nationals.

NJ McKenzie earned NCSSAA All-American honors in American Skeet. All-Americans are determined by the shooters regular season averages and their national score. The honors were given to the top five student-athletes in each discipline. The Roadrunners took second place as a squad in American Skeet.

Head coach Sarah Manuel likes what she has seen from this year’s team so far in practice.

“We have practiced a little,” said Manuel. “I didn’t bring the kids in early. We have such a long season. It is very exciting to see our first-year athletes really competing with our second-year student-athletes.”

SFCC will be shooting American Trap, American Skeet, and Sporting Clays. The Roadrunners will return to the ACUI this season.

“We have a strong returning team this season,” said Manuel. “We returned a lot of kids with experience from nationals last season. We’ve also had some first-year student-athletes who have really impressed me, like Bailey Carter from Montrose Missouri. He has really stepped up to the plate and is taking coaching well. He has improved his scores rapidly. Olivia Williams from Cole Camp is very willing to learn.

Coach Manuel is looking for leadership from NJ McKenzie, Anthony Walls, Connor Hess, and Hunter Snow who will return from last year’s team.

The Shooting Sports team will face a tough schedule which will prepare them for national competition in the spring.

“Last year when we came in, I didn’t really have a whole lot of expectations,” said Manuel. “Our goals this year are just to increase our scores throughout the entire weekend. We can’t have one good score in one discipline. We must increase our scores in all of our disciplines. We are really focusing on leadership and mental set up. That’s what separates the teams at nationals. We must focus on the things that we can control.”

Coach Manuel sees key aspects to being able to accomplish this goal for the season.

“The first key is repetition in practice,” said Manuel. “I have some new technology, and that will be interesting to see how it helps the kids. It’s going to come down to the little things, such as spending time in the weight room, getting our eyes right, doing all our eye exercises. Those will be key factors that will separate us from our competition.”

The team is excited for the upcoming season.

“It is year three for our program and we have come a long way,” said Manuel. “I’m excited to see our team mesh. This will be our first large group of sophomores graduating, I would like to see a few kids continue to a four-year college or university and get a shooting sport scholarship to help continue their academic career at the next level. I want to see our kids continue their education and continue to work on their craft.”

-- David Rohrbach, SFCC Athletics


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