St. Thomas Academy Rifle Team falls to Lebanon AJROTC in tie-breaker in league championship tournament

St. Thomas Academy finishes the season as conference champions


In one of the closest matches in the history of the National Air Rifle League, the St. Thomas Academy Rifle Team narrowly lost to Lebanon AJROTC in the first-round of the championship tournament. Both teams scored 2,183 points. By rule, the tie was settled by highest number of “inner tens.” Lebanon AJROTC won the tie 70 to 68. (The closest match in league history was decided by just one inner ten.) St. Thomas Academy finished the season as Junior Rifle Club conference champions with a 5-3 record overall record.

In the match, St. Thomas Academy was led by Michael Driscoll ’21 of Chaska, who shot a 550. The remaining contributing members were Daniel Staelgraeve ’21 of St. Paul (Merriam Park East), Kaleb Rutgers ’19 of Mendota Heights and John Copeland ’19 of Edina. St. Thomas Academy is coached by Chief Warrant Officer 4 Paul Preblich, U.S. Army (ret.).

Sponsored by the Orion Scoring System, the National Air Rifle League is a national team league for high school teams and junior rifle clubs. The league has two parts: an eight-week, round-robin regular season, where teams compete for their division’s title, followed by the post-season, comprised of two single elimination tournaments. Only the top 16 teams across all divisions advance to the post-season to compete for the league title.

In each match, the teams compete in a Three-Position Air Rifle match. The match is modeled after Olympic rifle competitions but adapted to high school athletes. Each athlete shoots 10 shots in three different shooting positions, prone, standing and kneeling. Each shot is worth a maximum of 10 points. The sum of points scored in the 30 shots is the athlete’s total. The team score is comprised of the best four athletes from each team. For more information on the league, including complete standings, visit

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