Most Viewed Stories
Sutter's sharp shooters
Huskies win national title
The schedule isn't unique to most prep athletes.
The student-athletes go to their classes, socialize and then hit the weight room.
Throughout the week, it's lifting, running, working the core, pretty typical conditioning.
Then it's handling a 15-pound Feinwerkbau compressed air rifle for hours on end.
"Ask a little girl to pick up a 15-pound rifle and curl it 20 times, and bench press it. You have to be strong," said Sutter High rifle team coach Allen Jaynes. "Sometimes my kids tell me, 'We're not football players.' I can press them pretty hard."
Well, that's what it takes to be national champions.
Since the program began 10 seasons ago, the Sutter High rifle team has made their name known in the shooting world.
The Huskies have won nine state titles, and the only year they didn't win was a second-place finish — by one point.
Of the nine times they qualified for the Junior Olympics, they finished second or third eight times, until now.
In late June, Sutter High became the first team from California to ever win the Junior Olympics, which is held in Anniston, Ala., under the USA Shooting and Civilian Marksmanship Program.
They're elite, and it all started with the Sutter-Buttes 4H program.
"I didn't even have a shooting background until I started learning about it under the program with my son," Jaynes said. "It was a bigger sport than I thought, and now it just turned into the monster that it is."
Jaynes and Ned Lemenager run the shooting program — one of the only remaining in the area.
"We still run the junior program, it's fun," Jaynes said. "We're one of the last shooting programs left, so we get kids from all around. It acts as a feeder to the high school program."
The team has sent 14 student-athletes off to four-year schools on scholarship over the 10 years, 10 of which went Division I.
But Jaynes called this 2012 group, "a special one," and "on a different level."
Of the 37 states that sent representatives, Sutter's four top shooters turned in a 4,676, the highest mark in the country.
Senior team captain Greta Ochsner, who will attend the University of Nevada this fall on a rifle scholarship, shot a two-day score of 579 and 588 for a personal best 1,167.
Senior Lauren Zerkovich, also heading to Reno, Nev., on scholarship this fall, shot a 579 and personal best 585 for a total of 1,164.
Junior, and soon-to-be senior captain Jaycee Carter led the team with a 585 and a 591 personal best for a total of 1,176.
"Jaycee shot a 591, that means she missed the bull's-eye just nine times out of 60 shots," Jaynes said. "She has amazing work ethic." The bull's-eye, in this case, is the size of a pencil dot, lying 33 feet in the distance.
Carter is being heavily recruited by some of the top rifle programs in the nation, including Ole Miss, Kentucky, Murray State, TCU and Nebraska.
Sophomore standout Justin Nissen shot a 584 and 585 for a total of 1,169.
Sophomore Emily Capaul served as a reserve.
The total combined score set a new school record.
"Any one of these kids have it in them to take this as far as they want to," Jaynes said.
In addition to the honors, Nissen and Carter each received the Distinguished Level for 3-position air rifle, which is the highest honor a shooter can earn. Nissen and Carter were also both selected to the national team.
The sport, once foreign to Jaynes, has become a passion. And coming from a football background, he has fun drawing comparisons.
"It takes a lot of eye-hand coordination obviously," he said. "But it's not like football where you can hide in the huddle or take a play off, it shows up if you don't do your job.
"Everything you get, you earn, and you get to play every down."
As far as the unbelievable success the program has had, Jaynes echoes sentiments of his coaching peers.
"One of the things that happens is that success breeds success," he said. "The younger kids want to be like the older kids, so it's just handed down.
"Then there are the expectations, and motivation to work hard, because you want to win."
This group was no different in that regard.
"These kids, all five of these kids wanted to win," he said. "They're very unselfish kids. They do whatever is best for the team."