Waynesburg’s Phillips defends WPIAL rifle title

Thursday, February 14, 2019 | 6:27 PM

There was a feeling of déjà vu in the Dormont-Mt. Lebanon Sportsmen’s Club on Thursday afternoon.

Name after name was called and 15 medals were handed out at the 22nd annual WPIAL individual rifle championships.

In the corner of the range, a teammate fixed the hair of defending champion Selena Phillips, readying her to step again into the florescent spotlight.

The Waynesburg senior shot 212.8 to claim her second straight WPIAL championship, edging Avella’s Alayna Walther (212.5).

“I’m on top of the world right now,” Phillips said. “I didn’t think I could do it. I came here thinking I was going to shoot my best. If I wasn’t first, I’d be happy even if someone else got it.”

She was presented the Dormont-Mt. Lebanon Sportsmen’s Club’s second annual Earl Taylor-Mike Eddy Award by Washington County Commissioner Diana Irey Vaughan. It was a mere coincidence that Taylor and Eddy were Greene County residents who attended Waynesburg High School in the 1940s.

“I was very high-strung this year,” said Phillips, who finished 29th as a sophomore. “Coming down off a high (after winning last winter), everybody expected so much from me, but I think I expected more of myself. It was rough.”

Seventy-four shooters competed at the WPIAL championships. Shooters fire from the prone position on the range, aiming at double target sheets, with 20 total targets that must be completed in 20 minutes.

The WPIAL used decimal scoring this year, which measures proximity to the center of the bulls-eye. Phillips had a perfect score of 200-20x last season and was nearly perfect on Thursday.

“Selena shot incredibly well today,” Waynesburg coach Rich Rush said. “She was definitely focused in from the get-go, a lot like last year.”

Phillips has qualified for next week’s state championship competition, which will be held Tuesday and Wednesday in conjunction with the team championships at Frazier-Simplex Sportsmen’s Club.

In addition to Alyssa Walther, she will be joined by Mt. Lebanon’s Jacob Delfosse (211.8) and Ethan Stuart (210.9); West Greene’s Shey Watson (211.7); Trinity’s Daniel Knizner (211.6), Reese Hickman (211.1), Michaela Hull (210.8) and Justin Walther (210.6); Hempfield’s Charidan Updyke (211.5); Butler’s Alec Stamm (211.4) and Riley Rodgers (211.3); Waynesburg’s Hunter Wasson (211.4); Upper St. Clair’s Cara Chiocca (211.2); Bethel Park’s Erin Rutherford (211.2); and Woodland Hills’ Lavonte Sanders (210.5).

Bill Hartlep is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bill at bhartlep@tribweb.com or via Twitter @TribHSInsider.

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