They're two time defending state champions, and they've done it without the financial support of their school district. Budget cuts could have spelled doom for the Quincy High rifle team two years ago, but instead of folding, this self-funded program has become a national contender.
The biggest worry for most sports teams and clubs is usually how to prepare for their next opponent.
Practice is important for the Quincy High School Rifle team, but these state champs also have to work on keeping their program going with private donations.
"It's about 2% physical and the rest is mental. If you tell yourself you're not going to do good today you're not going to do good," said Quincy High School Sophomore Keely Wagner.
Having that positive attitude has helped carry this team, after the school cut all of its funding in 2010. Keely Wagner said she'd be crushed if she couldn't compete.
"That'll just be terrible. I've gotten really connected to it and if we lost this I know it will crush the other shooters as well," she said.
Jim Holtman continues to coach the Rifle team despite the cuts. Not only does he volunteer his time, he even spent about $2,000 of his own money on motels and gas. But holding raffles is the primary way this team can continue to compete.
"Without the fund raisers, we would not be here today," he said.
With air rifles costing more than $2,000, the cost can rise quickly. But Holtman says they're not the only school facing cuts to their sport.
"For the most part, everybody's having to play the same game if you will. School board money is tight everywhere," he said.
Holtman's sacrifices haven't gone unnoticed. Wagner says this team has stayed together because of their coach.
"I'm just speechless. My appreciation for him is greater than anything. He's the best coach I've ever had, and I've had a lot," she said.
The raffle is a one-day guided hunt and clay bird shoot for two people.
If you want to buy a ticket, you have until the end of the week.
You can contact the Quincy High School Rifle Team by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org
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