Cadets Hitting Bullseye at Greenbrier East - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Cadets Hitting Bullseye at Greenbrier East

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FAIRLEA -

Around Greenbrier East, shooting begins at a young age.

"My grandpa started us early, shooting for hunting and everything and it just came natural," senior Zachary Hawkey said.

"I've been shooting ever since I was little with the little beebee guns, the little .22 pellets," senior Taylor Renick said.

"I've always gone hunting," junior James Meade said.

One group that's pulling the trigger with accuracy is the school's Junior ROTC air rifle program. And those targets are getting clearer and clearer, whether they are sitting, kneeling or standing. Out of 343 cadets at East, only a handful make the squad.

"It gets easier and when you start hitting that black it feels really good," Renick said.

"We've shot enough now that we know what we need to do. It's just that you have to get it to where you can do exactly what you have to do," Hawkey said.

The only damage is to the paper and cardboard. And just like other sports, you have to make sure your body is a temple, and not a target.

"Even what happens in the day to make you mad or happy. It just can tip you off," Meade said.

"You have to watch what you eat, what you drink. You have to watch what you do that day. The stresses you have because everything can change the way you shoot that day," Renick said.

At a national tournament, the team placed 15th among other army ROTCs. But there is more involved than shooting straight.

"It's like any other class. But our main focus is on citizenship. The mission of the junior ROTC program is to motivate young people to be better citizens," said Sgt. 1st Class Lefty Smith, a JROTC army instructor at the school.

And it's triggering a response among the cadets.

"The more confident you are, the better you're going to shoot," Hawkey said.