WMBD/WYZZ-TV - PEKIN, Ill. - Looking for a way to increase your concentration and better your grades?
The Pekin junior ROTC team has a way. It involves their air rifle competition.
"It's something different that everyone else can do," said Pekin High School senior Marlea Thielbar. "You don't see someone walking though the high school going 'well I'm shooting air rifles.'"
The on the Pekin Junior ROTC are doing just that. And they are among the best in the country.
"Kids learn a lot, not just about basic rifle marksmanship skills, but also teaches them how to mentally focus" said Master Sergeant Joseph Fabish. "Actually helps in classroom believe it or not. This sport is about 10-percent physical and 90-percent academic."
"If you're having trouble at school, good for focus and concentration for class," said sophomore Emalea Fabish "If you want to be on the team, have to keep good academic scores. Helps with classes."
It's important to remember that all members of the team, including the Thielbar sisters, are highly trained in safety. And are out to prove that these guns and girl power can go together.
"They think guys are the best shooters, but they are not," explained Marlea Thielbar. "Girls have a mental game with it. Guys are like 'I'm gonna shoot the gun and do it well.' We take time to think about our shots and process it."
And the girls are headed to the national tournament armed with a little sibling rivaly.
"Working together, we support eachother, but its good because we're trying to beat eachother all the time. Working extra hard to shoot well," said Emalea Thielbar.
For Marlea, she's hit her ultimate mark -- a school record."
"When I did it, I was like 'Oh my Gosh," said Marlea Thielbar. I beat my sister, and Allison Ginger. I was just freaking out."