(Current through 2013 NCAA Season)
The Georgia High School Association (GHSA) has long been supportive of rifle competition and sanctioned small bore (.22 caliber) most years from 1944 to 1995. Participation by schools was declining, primarily because of costs to build indoor ranges or to modify existing ranges to meet rising standards. The GHSA began sanctioning 3-Position Air Rifle in school year 1991-92. It is a varsity coed sport and treated as the other varsity sports with the same requirements and awards. The sport has grown significantly from 22 to more than 120 schools competing. The quality has correspondingly grown and Georgia is a leader in producing high quality high school athletes in the sport.
Though the majority of the student athletes had no prior experience in the sport many have raised their skill levels to compete at a higher level. Some have competed in the NCAA, even though they had to go out of state to do it until 2008. A total of 53 who competed in GHSA 3-Position Air Rifle have been verified from records as competing in NCAA rifle competitions. Of the 53, 11 competed at service academies and 22 at other out-of-state universities. There were no universities in Georgia competing in NCAA rifle competition until North Georgia College and State University began in 2008 and Columbus State in 2009. North Georgia withdrew in 2010 and has reentered in 2011. There have been 22 former GHSA competitors compete in NCAA competition at these two universities thus far.
The 53 former GHSA air rifle competitors have earned a total of 38 All-American honors, which include both air rifle and small bore. One was NCAA Individual Champion, one selected for the US National Team and nine to the National Development Team.
These accomplishments are not by just an elite small group of 53 student athletes, there have been many others of remarkable skill competing in the GHSA. There is depth in the program and many skilled competitors. More than half of the GHSA Championships’ medalists (1st – 3rd places) and more than a third of those selected for high school all-state honors elected to not compete in the NCAA.
The growth in quantity and quality has been great primarily because of the coaches who devote a lot to the sport.