GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Gulfport High's Junior ROTC program has one of the best rifle teams in the nation, ranking first in the Marine Corp JROTC and number six overall.
With deep breaths and heavy concentration, the Gulfport High rifle shooters plan to stay on top of their many titles. Coach Lt. Col. John Owens says they plan to do that with hours of practice.
"We practice every day, and you have to do that. It's very difficult and the students will tell you that practice is the key to it," Owens said.
Sophomore students Jillian Tyler and Brittany Robins have been shooting with the team for two years now, and they both plan to take their passion for the sport and shooting skills beyond the high school level.
"I'm looking forward to maybe doing really good in college, and then probably making it into the Olympics. I think that would be really cool to represent America for shooting, which isn't exactly well known by anyone," Jillian said.
"The first summer camp that I had in Anniston, they told us that we're able to pursue it not just as a hobby, but you can also go on after school and be recognized for it, by the whole world," Brittany says.
Owens says the dedication of the students on the team is something they should all be proud of.
"The repetition, the body positioning, the things they have to do when they walk in here make them the shooters that they are," Owens said. "It's great. These kids are great. I'm hard on them, but they've done a great job."
The team will be heading off to CMP Nationals on June 23 through the 25 at Camp Perry, Ohio.