IT was a clean sweep for the girls at the SSAA Victorian Junior Field Rifle competition recently. Twenty-seven male and female shooters from across the state battled it out for the Overall Champion title at SSAA’s Springvale Range last Sunday – and the girls came out on top.
Field rifle competition involves shooting paper targets in four positions – rapid fire, off-hand, standing post and sitting post. In rapid fire, shooters get 15 seconds to fire three shots at a paper target; they do that four times, and their highest 10 scores are counted. In off-hand, shooters have 15 minutes and 10 shots, standing unsupported. Standing post requires competitors to lean up against a post and fire 10 shots in 15 minutes, resting their firearm on the supporting arm. Finally, in sitting post shooters sit down to shoot 10 shots in 15 minutes. At the end, the results from all four positions are added together to give the total score.
Two age groups competed in the official State competition – 12 to under-15 and 15 to under-18 – while a second competition was held for those aged 18 to 24. The young women dominated both competitions. Elise Collier, 17, who has been shooting for just over a year, finished the standard field rifle competition with a score of 378.6. She was named Overall Champion, while Kara Bux took out the under-15 first-place position with a score of 334.2, and Amy McMahon won the over-18s with a score of 368.5. Elise went into the competition the favourite, after taking out the Open Rimfire Competition at SSAA’s Eagle Park range at Little River three weeks ago. She finished ahead of shooters decades older than herself to take that title. The Year 11 student goes to an all-girls Catholic school – Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Bentleigh – where shooting is, by no stretch of the imagination, mainstream. Elise said many of her school friends were shocked by her sporting choice. But she just likes to “do whatever is fun,” she said.
Springvale Youth Training Scheme Co-ordinator Greg Woolnough said the weekend’s competition was open to participants of all skill levels and experience. “For those who are not proficient to shoot field rifle, we have another event called prone, (where competitors shoot lying down),” he said. SSAA’s Youth Training Scheme educates youths aged 12 to 24 about the safe use of firearms, while teaching them sports shooting skills. The inclusive program also rewards participants of State competitions for their efforts. Fifteen-year-old Sean Rasmussen was awarded Most Consistently Improved Shooter.