by: , Members of the Tri-County Gun Club junior rifle and pistol team take aim at their targets during the recent National Rifle Championships. Team members included, from left, Jake Adams, Robert Dow, Steven Sletten and Andrew Roland. Roland, a Lakeridge graduate, finished second in the individual competition.

Recent Lakeridge graduate Andrew Roland claimed second place in the junior division at the National Rifle Championships at Ft. Benning, Ga., this week.

The 18-year-old Roland competed in both the junior and open classes in prone rifle, three-position rifle and air rifle. Three-position rifle is his dominant event and he brought his A-game to the championships this year.

At the end of day 1, Roland was in the lead in the junior division by four points while scoring 1151 points out of a possible 1200. After the second day, Roland found himself in second place by two points going into finals.

On the first finals shot, Roland pulled ahead and stayed in first for five shots until the wind caught him and a competitor from Pennsylvania took the lead. Roland fought hard but ended up in second by a half-point. He also finished 14th in the open class, edging out several Army marksmen. Roland took third in the grand rifle championship with combined scores from all three events.

In addition to competing in the Ft. Benning event, Andrew Roland also competed in the NRA's national rifle championships this year in Camp Perry, Ohio. After eight days of hotly contested matches in severe wind and rain, Roland emerged as the champion in the junior and collegiate prone divisions.

'The wind was five times stronger than anything I had practiced in,' Roland said.

Roland's father, Larry, coaches at the Tri-Country Gun Club in Sherwood, and his team, which consists of Andrew Roland, Jake Adams, Robert Dow and Steven Sletten, competed in the junior team event at nationals.

'The team started practicing in April and turned in some really good scores, which prompted them to register for the nationals,' the elder Roland said.

The team finished fourth overall at nationals, thanks partly to some good scores in the pistol competition.

'Having rifle experience gave these young competitors the fundamental skills necessary to perform well in pistol,' Larry Roland said.

The elder Roland has said before that Tri-County's junior rifle and pistol program is one of the best in the nation. Now he has the proof to back his claims.

Anyone interesting in joining Tri-County junior rifle and pistol team should contact Roland at 503-789-9109.

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