Port Angeles High School air rifle team qualifies for nationals

PORT ANGELES — It’s a little familial competition, that’s all.

Josh and Stephanie Jackson, a senior and a sophomore at Port Angeles High School, are part of a four-student team of air-rifle marksmen and women on their way to the Junior Olympics National Shooting competition in Kentucky this summer.

The duo are brother and sister, not that anyone would notice.

“I am better than him,” Stephanie said, smiling.

Josh rolled his eyes.

“OK, yeah, even though I’m second place in the state of Washington.”

“I had a bad day,” Stephanie said, of the team’s last competition, which rounded out the season undefeated.

Recently the Jacksons’ team, the A-Team — as opposed to Port Angeles’ Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps’ other squad, the B-Team — took first place in the state, giving it the privilege of representing Washington at the nationals.

“We’ve got the whole state riding on us,” said Dave Williamson, coach of the team and a naval science instructor at the high school.

Travel costs

But the cost of airfare, hotel rooms and other expenses almost made the opportunity to compete in Bowling Green, Ky., this July out of range.

“For us this is the biggest financial expenditure we’ve ever done,” Williamson said, who was advised to expect to spend $800 to $1,000 per student shooter.

He hopes to raise between $3,500 to $5,000.

“This is the first time anybody has gone to the nationals,” he said.

After word of the team’s predicament got out, support started rolling in.

The Marine Corps League of Port Angeles donated $1,000, the Military Officers Association of America in Sequim kicked in another $1,000.

Then the Port Angeles Wal-Mart store came through with $500, and on June 7 the Port Angeles McDonald’s is hosting a “McTakeover,” when members of the team will lend a hand for a couple of hours, handing over orders at the drive-through and cleaning tables. The team will get 40 percent of sales for the two-hour period.

“We’re getting real close,” said Leo Campbell, senior naval science instructor at Port Angeles High School.

At a recent “McTakeover,” a group raised more than $700, said Eric Schimschal, manager of the Port Angeles McDonald’s, 1706 E. Front St.

“It’s a quick and easy way to make money, and it’s kind of fun, too,” Schimschal said.

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