By: Brendan Lane ’20
When it comes to Chaminade athletics, the first activities that come to mind are often the lacrosse team and its national prestige, the soccer team and its string of recent state championships, or even the football team, who just reached the mountaintop once again, winning another NSCHSAA championship. And of course, one could not forget about the bowling team and its 70-game winning streak spanning the last half decade. These programs and the rest of Chaminade’s impressive teams all have one thing in common: They reflect Chaminade’s reputation of excellence both on and off the field. They all mirror the school’s greatness.
In addition to actually pursuing and achieving excellence, Chaminade’s athletic teams, especially those aforementioned groups, are widely recognized for their winning ways. However, there is another team who lies in the shadows of Chaminade’s success, and they never fail to start off with a bang.
Across Jericho Turnpike, behind the grandeur of Gold Star Stadium, sits the home of the riflery team. 366 Jericho Turnpike is where the team practices and competes each day, carrying on Chaminade’s motto of “advancing the mission”. Each year, the team finishes with an exceptional record while competing against schools from both Long Island and upstate. This season, the story is no different.
“The mesh of veteran seniors and new freshmen has really given a lot of promise for this year and beyond,” said James Smith ’20. “Our main goal is to usher in a new generation of athletes while continuing our winning ways.”
At the start of tryouts, the upperclassmen were ecstatic to see eight freshmen and other new members eager to learn a new sport. Many top shots graduated last year, and although those players have been missed, the team is only looking toward the future. “Many of our team members had never shot prior to tryouts. During tryouts, prospective students learned the basics; the rest of the season we all focus on refining our skills,” said Smith. “So far they’ve been crucial to our success.”
Midway through the season, the Chaminade shots have jumped out to an impressive 9-1-1 start by beating top squads, including Willsboro High School and Freeport. “The team is moving forward at a fantastic pace,” said Michael Mooney ’20. “We are a very tight-knit group with plenty of internal competition to drive our members to reach their highest level.” The team’s only loss and tie have come at the hands of Central Square Central High School.
“Our biggest matches are when we shoot against Central Square,” said John Gangemi ’20. “It would be a huge accomplishment if we can defeat them in our upcoming matchup.”
Just as Chaminade has made major changes over the last few years to advance the mission, so has the riflery team. Last season, Coach Lawrence Rice added Sydney Goldschlag to the coaching staff to provide expert coaching to the players. After breaking records as a member of the Freeport Riflery team in high school while receiving All-Conference honors in 2013 and 2014, she participated in the Junior Olympics in Colorado in 2014. She then shot for the University of Akron until her graduation in 2018. As the team prepares to take on Central Square, every player is especially grateful to have her on the team.
“As an experienced shooter, she’s provided invaluable advice and has explained what is needed to be done to compete at the highest level,” said James Smith. “Last year, we had to switch from shooting only offhand (standing) to 3-position (offhand, prone, and kneeling). None of us had ever shot 3-position before. Without her coming onto the team we wouldn’t have had a clue what to do.”
The riflery team’s commitment to excellence and constant betterment has solidified their identity as a strong reflection of Chaminade’s success, and their prowess is something special to watch. So next time you’re driving by Chaminade, take a stop at 366 Jericho Turnpike to watch the shooters take their shot at greatness.