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WMA Riflery hits All-State target

Wilbraham & Monson Academy once again led the way on the 2022-23 All-State team as eight Titans earned recognition.

The recipients were honored at a banquet hosted by the Connecticut State Rifle & Revolver Association on April 20 at the Grassy Hill Country Club in Orange, Connecticut.

Askar Bakirdinov ’24, Matthew Clark ’24, Marisa Cyboron ’24 and Arzum Li ’24 were named to the First Team, while Guo Yin ’23, Kai Yi Lin ’25, Sungjae Yeo ’24 and Vaishnavi Venkat ’25 made the Second Team.

This was the second consecutive year that WMA had eight members receive All-State honors. Since Coach Bill Passy took over the helm seven years ago, 35 Titans have made the All-State team, include 26 on First Team.

“The Connecticut State Awards Banquet was a great opportunity for our kids to get the recognition they deserve for another incredible season,” Coach Passy said. “It is especially special since it comes in front of their peers - those with knowledge of how difficult a sport it is. The kids take much pride in what they accomplished.”

Quotes from Coach Passy

Askar Bakirdinov ’24: “Askar turned into the No. 1 shooter our team needed. Though his style is a bit unconventional, his results are impressive. He performed especially well in big matches and was a leader by example.”

Marisa Cyboron ’24: “Nobody worked harder to earn this honor than Marisa. She went from being No. 11 on our team last year to a top-five shooter in the entire league this year. With her work ethic, we expect more improvement for next year.”

Matt Clark ’24: “Matt battled through a soccer injury that cost him valuable practice time over the course of the season. He was still able to post a top-10 average within the league to earn his second First Team selection.”

Arzum Li ’24: “Arzum quietly worked his way into a First Team selection. There is nothing flashy about Arzum - he just goes about his business and lets the cards fall where they may. He turned into a reliable scorer for the team this year.”

Guo Yin ’23: “‘Gawain’ was the only senior on this year's team. He leaves the program having never lost a league match. His value to the team went beyond just his shooting as he was selected a team captain. This marks his second straight Second Team selection.”

Kai Yi Lin ’25: “Polly provided some valuable scores for the team from a first-year shooter. She posted a solid score of 187 early in the state championship, giving confidence to our squad. She has the potential to be a top shooter.”

Sungjae Yeo ’24: “Sungjae had a break-out season for the Titans after struggling early. He capped a memorable run by shooting a 191 – the third-best score at the championship match. He shows up every day with a smile on his face.”

Vaishnavi Venkat ’25: “Vivi had a solid first year with the team. Though not up to her expectations, she is on the right track to become a top shooter in the league. She is not afraid to put in the time to make herself better. She’s a true sponge for knowledge.” 

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