Class of 2022 home to nationally ranked expert marksmen


While Bay Port fields are a hub of activity with fall sports, seniors Thomas Kirsten and Megan Charles’ sport of choice requires the field go untouched. 

“We have practices once a week for a couple hours, and matches on different weekends that last a few hours too,” Megan said. 

Both of them shoot and are members at Nicolet Rifle Range in Suamico. Based on his most recent performances, “trophy wise I’m first but ranking–live score–second” in the state Thomas said. 

A natural talent, Thomas first began at a young age, by shooting clay pigeons with a shotgun. Soon after, moving on to using rifles. 

“I took off with it and it kind of just became a big part of my life,” Thomas said. 

Megan only began shooting her freshman year of high school. 

“I actually didn’t know how to shoot a gun when I first started,” Megan said. 

She was introduced because of her close friend Thomas, who often talked to her about his matches, and she decided to attend one of his practices out of curiosity. Although the coach asked her to try shooting that day she waited until the following week. 

“It just took off from that day,” Megan said. 

Thomas competes in both Highpower and Vintage events. Both he and Megan travel to Camp Perry, Ohio every summer for national matches. Highpower is generally variations of AR’s or Automatic Rifles while Vintage are older military models. 

At National Matches, which took place this past summer, Megan took 28th out of 305. 

While Thomas and a fellow high school competitor from a different school competed as a “two man team, took second, and broke a national record,” Thomas said. 

The record was broken by 20 points, even in the wake of Thomas’ 2019 concussion due to a lacrosse incident. Along with the pandemic, preventing regular competition and 2020 nationals from taking place. Thomas says he stayed solid in performance after all of this and his achievements support his claim. 

Rifle shooting is not a readily available sport at Bay Port or high school’s in general. Thus the environment is completely detached from the high school setting.

Thomas reports shooting with people from ages 10 to 85. While the age range is broad, the community has more of a tight knit feel. Megan and Thomas appreciate that smaller community away from school as they’re able to know some of the best in the sport, who would not be a part of a school sponsored activity. 

“Shooting is the one sport that competitors give each other tips on how to improve” and that “environment is rare when it comes to competitive sports, that’s why I personally like that the environment is separate from school,” Megan said.  

Although Thomas does wish more people were involved or aware of the sport as “everyone should know how to handle a gun at least,” Thomas said.

 In his opinion, it’s merely a matter of safety that people are aware of the dangers of a gun and how to move about it properly. 

However, not everyone can fit in the community. Thomas says the sport is special because of the class of sportsmen who he gets to compete with. 

As “only certain people can make it that far being that good” and while “anyone can shoot, not everyone can be good at,” Thomas said.  

The sport is undoubtedly heavily male dominated, but senior Megan Charles is helping to combat that. 

“I do wish that there were more girls involved,” Megan said. “When I started shooting I was the only girl, since then there has gradually been an increase in the number of girls that are now shooting.”

Megan wants others to be able to enjoy the feeling of being able to hit a target dead center from 600 yards away, as she can. 

“I think it’s cool to see girls out there shooting,” Thomas said. 

Although he does concede that “sometimes girls have been proven to shoot better than guys, which is the only downside cause then you have to work harder,” Thomas said.