Cocked and loaded; riflery starts today on island

Even the coaches would have to agree: the activity is more a skill than a

sport.

Kapa’a coach CSM Oliver McGuire related air riflery more to bowling

than football in its demand on participants.

But it is that skill, and the

concentration and focus that accompanies it, that makes riflery a

highly-competitive, hotly-contested event around the island and around the

state.

Even new to Kaua’i, and, thus, not familiar with the procedures of

covering riflery, one need not dig too deep to learn that, as in football,

Waimea is the school to beat on the island when the season kicks off Thursday.

The Menehunes’ boys and girls were champions of the Kaua’i Interscholastic

Federation last season, and the Waimea women finished second in the state in

1999; the boys sixth.

What vaults the Menehunes to the forefront of the

KIF, seems to be Major Victor Aguilar’s ability to offer his shooters more

opportunities to compete.

“The KIF season is a big thing, it’s what gets

things going,” Aguilar said. “But we are able to show the kids that there’s

more out there.”

Consequently, two of Aguilar’s shooters, daughter Kristen,

and Albert Santos, qualified for the National Junior Olympics, an

invitation-only event, last year.

“If these kids want to be good,” the

coach said. “they have to shoot more than six times a year.”

With

experienced returnees and a disciplined program, competitors will have to be on

top of their game to compete with the Menehunes.

“Waimea is a good team

with good shooters,” McGuire said. “They kind of seem to be the team to

beat.”

Regardless, there’s more, McGuire said, to the competition than

victory.

“There’s a lot of character building in shooting,” the coach said.

“You have to possess concentration and you have to learn how to relax, compose

yourself and compete.

“Besides, any competition can teach.”

The

Warriors carry 13 boys and 11 girls on their team.

McGuire said Wency

Luczon should be a shooter to watch. The junior is returning for her third year

on the squad. For the boys, McGuire suggested keeping an eye out for senior Jan

Hase and junior Jonathan Ibanez.

“They have proven to be my best two

shooters in practice,” McGuire said. “We’ll see in competition.”

As with

cross-country, boys’ soccer, girls’ swimming and track, the Island School is

slated to participate in riflery again this year. Which is saying plenty for

the school, situated on a 30-acre campus behind Kaua’i Community

College.

“We only have 50 kids at the high school level,” athletic

director/riflery coach Sean Magoun said. “So there’s not a very deep pool to

pull from.”

Another hardship for the Island School to overcome is the lack

of military leadership at the coaching level.

“We don’t have those programs

where we can get some trained backing,” Magoun said. “And we don’t really have

the training facilities.

“No big deal. We’re going after it.”

Magoun

will be looking for leadership from Justin Geurber.

“Justin has shown a lot

of potential,” Magoun said.

Danielle Fisher returns to lead the Island

School girls into battle.

At Kaua’i, Major Melvin Manglona is the first to

admit that his boys seem to be a bit slow kicking things into high

gear.

But, then, the Kaua’i squad as a whole has been tardy in getting off

the ground for the 2000 season.

“I just got the kids out there for the

first lesson yesterday,” Manglona said Tuesday. “But we’ll be ready.

“I’ll

be pretty confident when we take on the Island School or Kapa’a, but Waimea

will be tough.”

Manglona seemed especially excited about his girls’

prospects. With good reason. Last year, the coach had one of the better

shooters on the island in Victoria Tsugawa. She returns for her senior year

this season. Andrew Barklow returns to lead the boys.

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