The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


February 10, 2014

CORY ISENBERG | Kissell sets her sights high

Alli Kissell is learning how to handle the pressure of success.

The Portage sophomore shot a 295 out of a possible 300 in the unbeaten Mustangs’ rifle match victory over previously undefeated Conemaugh Township last week.

This is not the first time the young athlete has felt the stress of competition.

“I actually won the Pennsylvania State Junior Olympic championship, so I’ve been under pressure. But I haven’t been under it for a long time,” Kissell said after the Tuesday match. “This is the end of my first year of shooting for the high school and competitive shooting. I’ve been under pressure, but I can’t say I’ve been under it a lot.”

Kissell said it’s a matter of getting used to people watching you while you are shooting.

“The pressure is on, but I generally do better in a high-pressure situation,” said Kissell, part of a Portage squad that clinched the WestPAC crown on Friday. “It makes you really focus on what you are doing. You are not being lackadaisical about your shooting. It’s like at practice where if you mess up it’s OK so for me, the pressure adds more focus and more excitement.”

The high school shooters are aiming at targets that are the size of a pinhead and they shoot from three different postitions - prone, standing and kneeling.

Kissell began shooting as a youngster with parental supervision.

“When I was younger, I was shooting tin cans in the backyard with my family and I have a little bit of hunting experience, but I’ve never shot a deer,” the Mustangs’ sophomore said. “When I got into sixth grade, my teacher, Mrs. Lutz, she referred me to the junior program at the Portage pistol club and we shot little rifles for postition on Saturdays at noon for an hour, and when I got into ninth grade I got on the Portage rifle team.”

When the Mustangs shot against the Indians last year, Kissell caught the attention of Conemaugh Township assistant coach John Binnie.

“John Binnie coaches the Jerome Sportsmen’s junior rifle program and he started checking up on my scores and watching me shoot,” Kissell said. “One day he called my dad and asked if I would want to come down to Jerome to shoot with them. It was a big honor to be asked to come shoot down here.”

Kissell took advantage of the opportunity.

“All through the summer, I’ve been shooting and going different places,” Kissell said. “I’ve been to Georgia, Ohio and West Virginia to open shoots.”

Kissell ‘s calm demeaner under fire should help her to continue to excel in her future shooting endeavors.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • SRU vs UPJ baseball0418 1 UPJ takes one, drops second

    John Fees’ spring baseball season accurately mirrors that of his Pitt-Johnstown team.
    Fees started slow, losing his first four decisions, but has rebounded nicely in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference West Division.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Pirates 0418 Brewers ward off late Pirates rally bid

    Kyle Lohse pitched effectively into the seventh inning, Carlos Gomez homered and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3 Friday night.
    Lohse (3-1) improved to 11-2 in his career against the Pirates, allowing one earned run in a win against them for the second time in six days.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drama lacking sans Tiger

    If professional golf saw its future at Augusta National last weekend, the sight had to be worse than choking on a 5-foot putt.
    The course was there in all its splendor.

    April 18, 2014

  • Penguins 0418 Penguins are wary of spunky Blue Jackets

    Sidney Crosby is used to the attention. It comes with the territory when you’re the best hockey player in the world.
    Still, the Pittsburgh Penguins star knows the spotlight becomes more acute in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0417 Pirates power past Brewers

    Andrew McCutchen hit his first homer of the season and drove in three runs, Pedro Alvarez had a three-run shot and pinch-hitter Josh Harrison broke a tie with a long ball in the seventh inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates handed the Milwaukee Brewers their first road loss, 11-2 on Thursday night.
    Harrison’s two-run drive down the left field line off Rob Wooten (0-1) was the second of his career as a pinch hitter.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0417 Jackets preparing for Game 2

    The Columbus Blue Jackets don’t feel they’re doomed after blowing a two-goal lead in a Game 1 loss of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
    “It’s not about missed chances, or feeling sorry about it,” goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky said at Thursday’s optional workout, 13 hours after falling 4-3 in Pittsburgh.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local Sports Briefs

    April 17, 2014

  • racin 0416 Jennerstown Speedway gearing for May open

    Jennerstown Speedway released a very ambitious schedule on its website and continues to prepare for its 2014 reopening.
    The track is set to hold a practice day for drivers as well as an open house and media day on April 26.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • ‘Hawks already building toward next season

    Jason Spence used up his cell phone’s battery on a trip from Johnstown to his parents’ home in Nova Scotia, Canada.
    Once the Johnstown Tomahawks coach got to his destination, Spence had to get creative to secure cell service across the border.

    April 16, 2014

  • Pirates 0416 Dominant Cueto drops Pirates in matinee

    That playoff loss in Pittsburgh last year? Johnny Cueto never thought about it much. So getting a chance to shut out the Pirates in a rematch wasn’t any more special.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo