Fort Payne High School’s JROTC varsity 3-Position Air Rifle (3-PAR) shooting team recently capped off their best season in program history by recapturing the North Alabama Rifle League (NARL) Championship.
Sparkman’s team won the league’s championship last year, but this time it was the Wildcat shooters who edged Sparkman by 104 points.
Fort Payne not only won the the league championship, but also earned third place as the Wildcats’ JV shooters placed third in the 10-team field, trailing Sparkman by 111 points.
Fort Payne’s first-place varsity team consisted of top shooters Kristen Fowler, Jade Robison, Devin Thomason and Ibet Perez, who took four of the top five individual spots at the event.
Fowler scored 549 points out a possible 600 (200 from each shooting position). She shot a 192 from the prone position, a 172 while standing and a 185 while kneeling. Her score also crowned her as the top individual shooter at the event.
Robison placed second individually, Thomason placed third and Ibet mounted a late comeback in the event’s 10-shot standing finals to move up from eighth place to fifth as an individual.
The Wildcats’ JV team that placed third as a group featured strong scores from Lilly Sparks, Caleb Stalvey, Zander Sparks and Austin Bone.
Lilly led the group with an aggregate score of 492, Stalvey followed with a 484, Zander scored 472 points and Bone scored a 467.
The league championship win capped off a perfect 15-0 season for the Wildcats in the NARL.
The varsity team’s performance in the NARL qualified them to compete in the Alabama State Championships, where Fowler, Thomason, Robison and Perez combined to score 2,044 points and finished second as a team, only trailing a team from Enterprise by 50 points. Fowler led the Wildcats with a score of 526, Thomason followed with 512 points, Robison shot 507 and Perez shot a 499.
The team also placed third in the JROTC Army Service Southeast Regionals, marking the first time the Wildcats have ever medaled at that level of competition. That finish qualified Fort Payne for the JROTC Nationals for the first time in school history. Fort Payne topped the Enterprise team at the JROTC Nationals by 62 points and placed third as a team.
The varsity team also qualified to compete at the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) Southeast Regionals, where Fowler scored high enough to qualify as an individual for the CMP Nationals from June 27-29 in Camp Perry, Ohio.
Fort Payne also won the American Legion Alabama Commander’s Cup, where Fowler, Thomason and Robison’s scores took the top three individuals spots at the event.
Fowler has also earned the right to represent Fort Payne at the American Legion Nationals from July 23-28 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She is one of just 15 sporter-class shooters throughout the country to be invited to the competition and she has been seeded fifth.
The Wildcats will look to continue dominating local competition for years to come as Thomason is the only shooter the team will lose to graduation.