Senior Brianna Citrigno may be used to the spotlight on her, having appeared in many stage and musical productions at Branham. But it’s her skill as a marksman that has gained her statewide attention.
Brianna competitively shoots air and .22 long rifles.
“We usually call it rifle because shooting has a negative connotation and that’s hard to beat sometimes,” said Brianna.
Although most people start shooting at around 11 or 12, Brianna started at age 13 after her grandfather gave her a used rifle. She knew that the sport was for her the minute she started.
“For me (shooting) gave me an entirely new sense of calm and focus that most young teenagers don’t experience,” she said. “That’s when I knew I wanted to continue with it.”
After deciding to seriously commit to the sport, Brianna started training three hours a week with Coach Dean Peterson and soon with nationally recognized coaches Allen Jaynes and Steve Katasuyama.
She works with Mr. Jaynes and Katasuyama when she heads north to Lincoln, Sutter, and Yuba City. Under their guidance, she received her first win two years ago at the Civilian Marksman Competition training camp.
Brianna now trains four to seven hours a week depending on her school schedule. Early in December, she attended the Winter Air Gun Nationals Showcase in Colorado Springs, Colo., where she beat her personal record of 400, scoring 402.2.
Her biggest win both face value and emotionally was at the California Pistol and Rifle Association 4-Position State Championship. She was named the state’s 2016 junior champion.
Brianna admitted that the awards all “basically mean the same thing” and it was the first place overall that really boosted her confidence.
“This win taught me that I could win things with my own volition … that I could actually do it,” she said.
The quiet and concentration required in these competitions made the competition much more challenging.
“It was really serious…almost stoic,” she said. “Everyone had a job to do which was to win the match in their respective category, pretty much like any other state competition for any other sport.”
Brianna was able to push through it and get the job done.
“There have always been times when I wanted to quit,” she said. “With anything, I think most people hit a wall, where they aren’t getting better, they are either stagnant or getting worse. I tried to change my mindset so I believed that I could do better instead of expecting myself to.”
Her coaches help her get through these unsettling periods.
“Allen gives me tough love,” she said. “He pretty much tells me to stop being a baby, which helps me get my priorities straight.”
Despite her passion and talent for the sport, Brianna does not have plans to pursue the sport professionally. She applied to college with the hopes of getting into psychology, but still wants to continue shooting recreationally. Until next fall, Brianna will be shooting rounds at her training center, getting ready for a shot at her next competition.