The North Haven High School rifle team shot a combined score of 951 on March 1 at the state level competition at Blue Trails Range in Wallingford.
The final score for the team, which combines the scores of the top five shooters, was made up of John Quimby with a score of 196, Caroline Bennett with 191, Captain Sarah Camera with 190, James Cavanaugh with 189 and Andrew Redenti with 185.
A perfect score of 200 involves shooting the center ring in five different targets in the lying down position, the cross-legged position, the kneeling position and the standing position, all within the thirty minute time constraint.
Coach Brent Heidenis, who has been with the team for four years, says he goes beyond the shooting range to expose the team to as many valuable experiences as possible.
"Outside of matches, last year before Marlin shut down, we took a tour of the plant," said Heidenis, "that was very interesting. They took us through the whole production line. We were also able to organize a trip to Camp Rell National Guard training facility. There's this multi-million dollar, laser-function shooting range and the team was able to use the M4 and M6. It was lasers, though, not actual guns. Beyond the season I try to expose them to those opportunites."
The team is made of a combination of girls and boys with interests in hunting, law enformcement, military and shooting as a sport in general.
"My father said that before I graduated, I had to learn to respect the weapon," said James Cavenaugh, whose father is ex-military.
Andrew Redenti, 17, is a seior at North Haven High with an interest in joining the air force before college. According to Redenti, the sport is completely safe.
"It can't hurt. It's something to do for fun. Everything's regulated and it's really watched so nothing's going to go wrong," said Redenti.
Cory Cristante, 16, and Brendan Quinn, 15, who have both been shooting for years, say the sport is often discredted due to its low physical intensity, but that it is still very much straining in other ways.
"It's not very physical, but it takes incredible concentration and balance," said Quinn, whose parents are both involved in shooting.
"It's different from other sports," said Cristante. "It requires lots of mental capability."
Aiming for something the size of a paper clip from fifty feet away means immense concentration is required to achieve near perfect stillness. Other precautions are taken by team members such as wearing special suits to decrease movement of the limbs as well as movement cause by breathing, digestion and blood circulation. Competing shooters are even encouraged not to drink any carbonated beverages before a competition to avoid any extra movement in the body.
North Haven High's rifle team consists of 25 to 30 members at a time. For more information, Brent Heidenis can be reached at 203-239-1683 ext. 3102.