Gomes places second in first shoot


Photo by Destinee Murray

Senior Kamanukea Gomes placed second for the boys team at the first air riflery shoot of the season with a score of 244 yesterday at Baldwin High School.

By Destinee Murray, features editor

After eight long hours in the sun with only the puffing sound of the rifles in the air, senior Kamanu Gomes shot his way to second place in the boys division and third place overall in the first shoot of the Maui Interscholastic League air riflery season yesterday.

Gomes had a total score of 244 with only two other shooters ahead of him. Saber Tiffany Kokubun with 246 and Trojan Zach Harmer with 245.

“I was nervous. There were some shots where I missed. I got deducted two or three points just because my heart was beating so fast… I was just nervous and I missed because of it,” Gomes said.

Being that this is the first year in which Kamehameha Schools Maui is fielding an air riflery team, Gomes, who has hunted all his life, is one of the few shooters with related experience. However, Gomes explained that hunting is far different than air riflery, with the targets smaller, sighting in more difficult, and the process being longer along and needing more concentration.

“The positions and holding the rifles is different than hunting,” Coach William Julian said. Coach Julian has coached students and other coaches who have never done air riflery for about three years prior to joining the Kamehameha team. Coach Rex Williamson is the other coach, but he was unable to attend the first shoot.

The Kamehameha Maui boys team placed forth in a field of six, and the girls placed sixth in a field of seven. Junior Craden Kailiehu placed 10th with a score of 214, and he was followed by his teammate, ninth-grader Jacob Julian, who shot a 213. The top shooter for the girls was Robyn Valle, who placed 23rd by shooting a 183.

The first shoot lasted approximately eight hours with four relay legs, each two hours long. Each leg is made up of a few students from each school.

During a relay, shooters must shoot from three positions: prone, standing, and kneeling, also known as “three-position air riflery.”

Shooters are given ten shots per position with time to set up equipment and sight in before the actual 15-minute shooting round, with time for breaking down equipment at the end. Competitorsʻ scores are arrived at by adding the scores from each of the three rounds of shooting, with the highest possible score being 300.

“The standing position, that’s the hardest position. So everybody needs improvement on that,” Coach Julian said.

The rifles are heavier than they look, so shooters take a break after each shot to relax, breathe, and concentrate. Staring at the target for so long creates fatigue in the eyes, Julian said.

There were 95 shooters at the first shoot, which started at 8 a.m. Luckily, a concession stand was just steps away from the range, with lunch, snacks, and drinks. Next to the concession was the meet ranking, which was updated after each relay. Each shoot serves as a qualifying match for the MIL finals at the end of the season.