By Ally Bennett ’23
At Concordia, the rifle team has more than a 100-year history, dating back to 1906 with the original Concordia College. From the official dedication of the high school in 1935 to new buildings in 1952 and 1963, the rifle range has been a staple for CLHS, including earning multiple City, State and National Titles over the years. This fall, that range is seeing new life.
Through the gracious donation from Mrs. Toni Murray, the CLHS Rifle Range is getting a full $50,000 upgrade, including a new painted floor, rejuvenation of the current soundproofing, and a new Olympic Games quality digital target system complete with computerized targets. This now makes Concordia the only high school with a rifle range of its kind in the area.
“It’s already made a huge difference with how I coach, how the shooters can see what their shots are; it’s amazing when you’re shooting,” said SFC Al Conrad, coach and JROTC Instructor for the rifle range, crediting Pam (Miller) Reinking, Class of 1981, for making the connection with the donor.
The new system for the range is manufactured by Sius, a Switzerland based company. Each target system consists of an electronic target that tracks the shot of the athlete through both laser and sound to improve the accuracy of scoring, and an individual monitor so the athlete can see each shot's impact on the target immediately after it is fired. A main computer ties all the firing points together so the Range Officer or Coach can see in real time what each shooter is doing. Additionally, a 54-inch monitor hangs from the ceiling to allow spectators to watch the competitors during a match.
“Shooting is a very precise sport. It requires the athlete to make the same movements every time,” Conrad said. “(This new system) takes us up to the next level of shooting.”
Senior Garrett Reinking, the Rifle Team Commander for the 2022-2023 school year, is excited to see the increased recognition for the range.
“It’ll give the shooters the best opportunity for the best training in a high school program. It will look nicer and draw more people into the shooting sports,” Reinking said. Concordia currently has 12 members on the freshman, JV and varsity teams.
From a commander's standpoint, he hopes to have a few people place in the top finishers in every rifle match they attend.
Over the years, the rifle range has provided a unique opportunity for Concordia students to compete in air rifle competitions and has allowed for many alumni to go on to compete on the national stage.
For instance, graduates such as Thomas Lorenzen (1975), Luke Shank (1998), Robin (Goodwin) Cartwright (1999), and Erin (Lorenzen) O’Neil (2006) have ranked in national competitions including Indiana Junior Smallbore Champion, National Air Rifle Champion, and NRA Lifetime Master and Distinguished Rifleman awards. Luke Shank graduated from Concordia as a Junior Olympian and went on to be a member of the U.S. Naval Academy’s Rifle Team. As a graduate of 1999, Robin Goodwin was a state champion in 1998 and went on to shoot for the state of Alabama. U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Erin (Lorenzen) O’Neil recently was awarded the 2021 Interservice Individual Rifle Champion title as the best rifle shooter in the Armed Services.
The digital targets are already in place and the painting of the floor and the soundproofing of the walls will happen later this fall. Ken Finner, Class of 1975, who put in the new gym floor, will be doing the red, white and blue painting of the range floor.