St. Vincent's Academy is shooting straight for their spot at GHSA Championships

By Jordan Albury/For th Prep Sports Report | February 26, 2022

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With just a few meets under their belts, the rifle team of St. Vincent's Academy is shooting straight for their spot at state this year. In their twenty-third season Coach, Gary Ogden has a group of 4 seniors, three sophomores, and two freshmen who are eligible to compete. While the team has some returning seniors and sophomores this year, most of these athletes come into the sport having never even shot a rifle. That fact makes St. Vincent's reaching the Georgia High School Association Air Riflery state finals five times since 2007 much more impressive.

Last season the girls ended with a 6-2 record and lost in the semifinals round of state. This season the girls have been working hard and tweaking their positions in any way necessary to make it back to the GHSA Air Riflery state playoffs and advance even farther. However, the region they shoot in does not make this easy. In this area 3A that St. Vincent competes, we also see the Ware County and Camden County teams competing strongly this year. With the top four scores of each team counting in the overall point total, the maximum points allowed are out of 1200. Both Ware and Camden have hit an 1160 and 1150, respectively, this season. Coach Ogden, however, welcomes the challenge as his girls work harder to defeat these perennial state playoff teams. 

Practice for the ladies of St. Vincent's is hosted four days a week and requires shooting on two of them. With so many new shooters each year, Coach Ogden has got his process of introducing and teaching this sport down. Starting with experienced girls introducing new teammates to equipment and basic technique, Coach Ogden can specify a practice plan for each athlete based on their needs. Something he drills hard for his student-athletes is the idea that "The one who shoots the most is probably the one who scores the most!" 

Many girls have taken this to heart as they practice each day. One freshman, in particular, picked up a rifle for the first time in August and has already found herself shooting a 280. Coach Ogden attributes this success to his athletes' dedication and hard work. "They put the effort in every practice. They walk through the door and ask to shoot a rifle, then they blossom. They walk through that door every day excited to work hard."

With so many talented athletes in his regime, the ladies of the St. Vincent's rifle team find their spots in competition based upon practice shoots. The top seven on the team will compete, with only the top four scores counting. Coach Ogden has watched with wide eyes as this team can identify their problems and work towards fixing themselves to achieve the best possible scores they can. With as much success as they have found so far, the ladies of St. Vincent's are optimistic about their competing in the GHSA postseason championships and are doing all they can to make it to the very least semifinals like last year. We here in Savannah can do nothing less than with these girls with such grit, the best of luck in their future competitions.

Note - After Jordan wrote the article, St. Vincent's air riflery team outshot the Benedictine Cadets for the 14th year in a row! Also, the Saint's shooters swept the week, beating Savannah High with their highest score of the season.

Photo - St. Vincent's Academy Athletics on Facebook 

Optim Orthopedics supports St. Vincent's athletics. The Saint'a  team doctor is Dr. Thomas Alexander. Remember, Optim Orthopedics gets you back into the game!. 

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The "Coach" Karl DeMasi has been teaching and coaching for the past 35 years on all levels of academia and athletics. One of his hobbies has been writing, announcing and talking about sports. DeMasi has been involved in the Savannah Area sports scene since 1995, and he created the high school magazine "The Prep Sports Report" in 2000. In 2010, the "Coach" started broadcasting The Karl DeMasi Sports Report. He's still going strong, broadcasting on Facebook live and Twitter live every Saturday morning. You gotta love it!

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