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TCU rifle team aims for perfection

by TED MADDEN

WFAA-TV

Posted on November 17, 2011 at 1:11 PM

TCU has one of the best rifle programs in the country. They won a national championship in 2010.

Like a lot of sports, the goal is simple -- hit the center of the target. Attaining that goal, is not.

TCU rifle coach Karen Monez described it this way: "It's a precision sport where the shooter is attempting to hit a dot that is the size of a period at the end of a sentence."

And then do it 60 times. That's how many shots they'll get off during a competition, and it takes roughly an hour to do it.

Consider baseball -- great hitters fail 70 percent of the time. Here, the margin for error is much less.

"The point of it is to do the same thing over and over and over again," said junior Sarah Beard. "And if on one of those times you don't do the same thing, you've set yourself up for failure."

"To me, if you hit the 10, it's not failing," said Sarah Scherer, also a junior. "If you hit the 9, it's kind of failing. So you have to be hitting it 99% of the time."

Sarah Scherer had a series during a recent competition in which she didn't even "kind of fail," not even once. Her perfect 600 is believed to be only the fourth one in NCAA history.

Karen Monez: "It's rare, and for the most part, you only see it at a competition where there are Olympic-caliber or world-caliber shooters."

"Even over the last few shots of my 600 I'm so nervous, so every single bit of the way to get that 600 I was overcoming a lot of challenges," said Scherer.

A perfect stance is important, because shooters don't want to use their muscles, which would fatigue during a series.

Scherer showed us her stance and described it: "From my hip down to my foot, use that structure - that bone structure - to hold the weight of my rifle, and not my muscle."

"I think for an individual to really understand what it takes to accomplish this," said coach Monez. "I think you have to pick up the gun yourself."

I like to understand things, and I like to shoot guns, so the next part was easy ... except that it wasn't. Consider that Sarah hit a perfect 10, 60 times in a row. I took 5 shots, and my best was a 4.7.

But to me, it was a perfect 4.7.

 

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