Breaking News
The student voice of West Potomac High School

The Wire

The student voice of West Potomac High School

The Wire

The student voice of West Potomac High School

The Wire

Junior Eli Kopp Shoots His Shot

Junior Eli Kopp aiming at a competition

Having competed in rifle since his freshman year, varsity marksman Eli Kopp went head-to-head  in the USA Shooting Junior Olympics the weekend of January 13, placing 13th in the state.  


“I actually have no idea how I qualified to be in this,” Kopp explained. “There’s several different types of rifle meets organized throughout the year, and I guess I just did enough of them.” 


Story continues below advertisement

Kopp explained that rifle meets are typically held once per month, pitting West Po not only against other Northern Virginia public schools, but also against local private schools like Gonzaga.


While rifle may sound like a very action-packed sport, a lot more rinse-and-repeat precision goes into it than one might think. 


“Our coach doesn’t recommend that we breathe before shots,” Kopp said. “We have to wear these special gloves to steady our aim, because even something as small as our heartbeat can throw it off.”


The average rifle meet is based on the average score of 40 shots on a small target. More advanced meets, like the USA Shooting Junior Olympics, are based on 60 shots, and have more involved digital targets. 


“The digital targets connect to a screen that tells us our score in points. Typically, we have to try and make out what we got when using physical targets, but the screens update us on how we’re doing after every shot.”


Kopp also made an important note that the rifles used in rifle team don’t have any sort of magnifying scope, so competitors have to rely on the sight which is part of the rifle to steady their aim. When using paper targets, a separate standalone scope is used, but only to see where shots landed after they’ve been fired. 


If all this prep sounds stressful, it’s because rifle is a lot more…  than it may initially sound. The only form of break team members are afforded in the allotted time to get all their shots in is the chance to get a sip of water between shots.  


However, this doesn’t mean rifle can’t be a relaxing or rewarding sport. Kopp noted that a good chunk of time each practice is spent on breathing exercises to help competitors get in the right headspace to shoot. He also still keeps used targets as keepsakes from his meets.


Kopp hopes to advance even further than the USA Shooting Junior Olympics during his senior year season. In the meantime, he’ll be hitting the JROTC room nearly every day to practice. 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Miguel Tsang
Miguel Tsang, Co Editor-in-Chief
This is senior Miguel Tsang's third year writing for The Wire. Not only the president of West Po's Asian-Pacific Americans Club (APAC), he’s also active on the Crew and Debate teams. He is excited to be back in journalism to keep up with current events, and help other people to do the same. In his spare time, he enjoys playing the violin, traveling, and planning for the next APAC meeting and talking about Nope ;).

Comments (0)

All The Wire Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.