Huskers rifle team: “Yoga before each practice”

Story by Jake Bogus, NewsNetNebraska

Janine Dutton’s eyes are closed.  She sways back and forth, her toes occasionally leaving the concrete of the Military and Naval Science Building’s practice range.

Inhale.  Exhale slowly.  Eyes still shut.

Dutton raises her air rifle to its proper resting place and tucks the multi-colored rifle into her shoulder.  She opens both eyes.  She stares down the barrel and into a target dot 33 feet down the range.  With her finger hugging the trigger, she pulls.

Click.

No ammo.  Just a practice shot.

Twenty minutes in, and not one girl on the Nebraska rifle squad has fired a bullet.

“Our shooters each have their own way of getting in the zone before they start actually firing ammo,” coach Morgan Hicks says.

“Yeah, one of our girls even does yoga before each practice,” Dutton adds.

• • •

Dutton relaxes the gun on her shoulder again – this time loaded with ammunition. Fifteen seconds pass before she pulls the trigger.  The sophomore riflewoman doesn’t blink.

Dutton’s expression doesn’t change as 9.3 flashes on the electronic screen displaying an animated target.  The riflewomen strive for a 10 or higher.  A 10.9 means perfection.

Sixty seconds pass, and she pulls the trigger again.

9.6.

Dutton closes her eyes and takes a few breaths to compose herself.  She adjusts her sights and then waits to pull the trigger a third time.

The pellet zips through the air toward an inner circle target no larger than the period at the end of this sentence.

10.6.

Throughout the basement’s practice room, Dutton’s teammates are finding their 10s as well and gaining a rhythm.

“Coach, would it be OK if on Friday I did small-bore, then I went to class, and then I came back to do air rifle practice?” Dutton asks.

“I would prefer if you just did your practice all at once,” Hicks says.  “It would affect your concentration if you took a break.”

Dutton shrugs her shoulders, but seconds later they’re back to holding up the air rifle.  Eighty more pellets to shoot.

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