Over the past several years, Dawson County High School senior Madelyn Lee has become both an astute precision air rifle competitor and the leader of the high school’s varsity riflery team.
Starting out her career with BB shooting through her middle school 4-H club, Lee later transitioned into precision air rifle and quickly became skilled at the sport she now has the opportunity to continue at the collegiate level.
Just a year after starting school-level riflery in ninth grade, she made it onto a club-level team called Old Mill Rangers based out of Griffin.
Now in her final year at DHCS, Lee holds several school records and has been able to travel around the country with her club team.
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While she has devoted many years to her craft, Lee now enjoys sharing her knowledge with the young but growing riflery program at DCHS.
“That’s something I really enjoy — I’ve always loved to share with people what I enjoy and teach them how to do it,” Lee said. “I’m glad the [younger members] can see me as someone they can talk to.”
Her role as a leader is inspired by her own disciplined approach to shooting. Spending several hours a day practicing during the week and on weekends, Lee enjoys helping others who take an interest in the sport and wish to put in the work to improve.
“I’ve just worked really hard on building my positions, being consistent every single time and being hard on myself in a positive way,” Lee said. “I feel like because I’ve devoted so much time to it [I have] gotten to where I am.”
Although she is just a few months away from graduation, Lee has long held aspirations to shoot at the collegiate level.
“That was kind of my main goal this whole time,” Lee said. “Even in ninth grade, I was thinking ‘What college team can I shoot on and how can I build up this resume?’”
Such ambitions take plenty of planning and work — both of which she started at a young age. By her freshman year, Lee was already visiting club competitions on weekends and meeting coaches to gain knowledge.
Between the goals she set for herself early on and the constant grind of everyday work to achieve those goals, Lee is beginning to experience the payoff.
“This is something I’ve been working toward for a very long time,” Lee said. “I’m so excited about the opportunities coming up. It’s crazy because you have these goals you set in life — long-term and short-term — and when you finally see one of your long-term coming through, you feel like you can relax.”
With the high school riflery season coming up, Lee is preparing to further display her leadership skills by helping the DCHS team grow closer together.
While on her travels with the Rangers, Lee noticed that a team from Texas was able to elevate its success by vocally supporting each other.
That sense of cohesion will be important for the DCHS team to constantly improve, according to Lee.
“Instead of it being a competitive team where [we] want to out-shoot each other, [we] really want to help and teach each other new things,” Lee said. “I feel like watching people be friendly with one another…teaches you even more than a coach could.”
Lee credits her father as an important supporter in her riflery efforts.
“I’m really appreciative of my dad because he’s the one who got me to where I am,” Lee said. “He was my BB coach and has given up being a BB coach to now take me to all these matches.”
As for her accomplishments, she has shot 294 out of 300 points at the high school level and 584 out of 600 at the club level.
Outside of riflery, Lee is the president of the DCHS chapters of FCCLA and National Honor Society. She is also the social media and events coordinator for FBLA.
Lee is a longtime member of Mill Creek Baptist Church in Lumpkin County and is active in their music program.