The Carson High School rifle team finished second in the shoulder-to-shoulder Naval Junior ROTC rifle match they hosted Saturday.
For the first time, the school team hosted 13, four-member rifle squads from Nevada, Arizona and California at the campus shooting range.
Reed High School placed first in the match, qualifying for a national Navy competition held in Tennessee in February.
About 55 competitors fired 10, .177-caliber pellets from air rifles in each of three positions: lying down or "prone," standing and kneeling.
The doors to the range were sealed for each round of shooting, to avoid distracting focused shooters. Competitors went shoulder-to-shoulder Saturday, rather than shooting at their home ranges and mailing in entry targets, officials said.
During the standing competition, Carson High's "A" team used orange plastic chairs to relax before each shot. They would close their eyes and breath deeply to bring down their heart rates. One shooter checked his pulse on his neck before looking through the two rings of his rifle sites to fire another round.
Then it was a matter of using the "B.R.A.S.S." technique taught by the team's coach, Sgt. Major Wayne Baker. "B.R.A.S.S." stands for Breath, Relax, Aim, Stop, Shoot, said Belinda Suwe, 19, a former Carson High shooter who came back to support the team.
"I want to see them do good," she said. "When I was here we weren't even close to the scores they're getting now, so it's exciting."
Suwe, who was nationally ranked when she shot for Carson, is a member of the team at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she is studying chemical engineering.
She said the Carson High range is one of the best around.
"Even the one at UNR doesn't compare to this," she said.
A current shooter on Carson's B team, Brett Bindley, described how the team will relax in one of the NJROTC classrooms built last year before they step up to the firing line. With the lights dim and a digital clock displaying military time, the team sits quietly on olive-green cots while listening to soft music.
"Bach and Mozart are two of the favorites," he said.
Bindley, the only sophomore who made Carson's B or "Bravo" team, said the Carson NJROTC program recruited 96 freshman this year, more than doubling the previous enrollment.
During visits to Carson and Eagle Valley middle schools, ROTC members performed drill team and color guard demonstrations, as well as talking about the programs.
Bindley credited some of the surge in ROTC participation to post-Sept. 11, 2001, patriotism.
Other teams competing in Saturday's match were Churchill County, Reed, South Lake Tahoe, Centennial, Apache Junction, Ariz., and Chaffey, Lemore and Serra high schools from California.
Top three finishers
First place: Reed High School ----- 1,001 points
Second place: Carson High -------- 978 points
Third place: South Tahoe High --- 947 points