Papasodora wins conference riflery title
Cat Papasodora held the top spot entering the final round of the Cook Inlet Conference riflery championships Saturday, Dec. 7 at West High.
All she had to do was hold off the other nine best marksmen through a final round where each fired 10 additional shots.
The Eagle River High junior had the best final score and finished first overall with an aggregate score of 394. She shot a 293 on Friday, including a perfect 100 in the prone position.
Papasodora said she thrives in high-stress situations.
“I focus a lot better under pressure,” she said.
Papasodora’s rise to the top of the CIC is impressive, considering she joined the team as a freshman with little knowledge about the sport. Now, she’s being recruited by some of the country’s top collegiate programs, Wolves’ head coach Jeff Parker said.
“She’s awesome,” he said. “She’s a natural leader. We rely on her heavily to coach the younger shooters.”
The experience gained over the past three seasons was a huge help going into the final match of the year, Papasodora said. Not only did it help ease her nerves, Papasodora said, but she’s also more knowledgeable about the rifle.
“The rifle fit a lot better,” Papasodora said.
Papasodora was one of five local shooters to reach the final — four of whom were from Eagle River. Tristan Henderson finished third overall with an aggregate score of 390.7 followed by Jessica Mooty (381.9) in fourth and Clarissa Deleon (373.7) in ninth.
Garrett Johnson fired an aggregate 378.7 and finished sixth overall to lead Chugiak.
The Wolves’ second-place team finish is the best in school history, Parker said.
Dimond won the team title with 3,337 points, and South was third just 13 points behind Eagle River. The Mustangs finished seventh as a team with 3,126 points.
A new rule this year factored the scores from all 12 shooters from each school in the team standings. In the past, only the top four counted toward team points.
Eagle River’s C team made the difference, Parker said, as they turned in their best performance of the season with 1,049 points.
“They rose to the occasion,” he said.
The same was true for everyone in a Wolves’ uniform, he said.
“Today, they demonstrated how to win,” Parker said.
Parker expects Eagle River to be highly competitive again next season. The Wolves’ top four shooters, Papasodora, Henderson, Mooty and Ben Hancox — who made the finals but was unable to shoot Saturday — are all juniors and will be a strong returning group, he said.
“Our team looks great for next year,” Parker said.
As for Papasodora, she has one goal left: to break the conference record of 296. For now, she’s happy with her individual title.
“I’m pretty stoked.”