SP Rifle Team wins National Championship 

Published 8:27 am Wednesday, February 23, 2022

South Panola High School’s Air Force Jr. ROTC Rifle Team has won a fourth National Championship a month after capturing the South Region championship.

Both the region and national meets were three-position competitions, meaning that students fired air rifles from prone, standing, and kneeling positions. Individual scores are tallied to determine where teams place in the field of participants.

South Panola had commanding margins of victory in both competitions. The National Championship competition was held Feb. 12. The Tigers shot in Anniston, AL, at the same time other school teams across the nation were shooting at regional locations. The scores from each location were broadcast live and teams could monitor results from the national meet.

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Leading the Tigers to the victory was Logan McCool, who was named the Air Force National Individual Champion. Teammate Kelsie Isbell took sixth place nationally.

“South Panola School District could not be more proud of the accomplishment of our AFJROTC rifle team,” said Superintendent Tim Wilder. “Colonel Mims and the team are dedicated to the sport, practicing year round. It is great to see their hard work pay off and celebrate their victories.”

Five branches of military service – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard – sponsor high school and private teams through the Civilian Marksmanship Program. South Panola’s team is an Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps affiliate. The team will advance to the All Services competition where they will compete against top performers from the other military branches in the program.

Team coach Col. Robert Mims organizes training and travel arrangements for the tournaments. The athletes who make up the rifle team spend hours practicing in the high school cafeteria for competitions, and the physical and mental demands of air rifle target shooting.

“This team has persevered through many challenges over the last twenty months to bring the championship home to South Panola and our community,” Mims said. “Marksmanship as a sport lasts all year and our team competes all year. Their dedication and commitment to excellence is truly outstanding.”

A team photo taken at the National Championship meet is on Page A13 of this edition.