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Meet Danielle Cuomo, sharpshooter
That’s Danielle Cuomo, and what she’s holding is a .22 caliber Anschütz rifle.
She’s awfully good with it.
Beyond her affinity for chemical engineering and behind that reserved demeanor is a fierce competitor. See, this young lady is a championship marksman. Cuomo is the senior captain of the Valley Stream District riflery team, a collection of some of Long Island’s sharpest shooters.
Last season, she led the Falcons to a sixth consecutive title in the Regional Rifle Championships at West Point. Cuomo’s 279 score – out of a possible 300 – in the small-bore discipline was second best in the state. And the year before that, as a sophomore, she shot a 275 in the tournament.
She’s one of five girls on the 12-person team. So, as teammate Melissa Schmidt said, telling someone, “You shoot like a girl” has become quite the compliment around Valley Stream.
In fact, Cuomo gets it from her mama. No, literally. “My mom went to Valley Stream Central and was into riflery,” she said. “That’s kind of where my interest in it came from and I started early.”
By the time Cuomo made the varsity team as a freshman, she already was experienced, having been a regular in the PAL league since she was 12.
“Girls make excellent rifle shooters,” Falcons coach Blake McCauley said. “They’re often a little brighter and more mature than boys at this age and they have good mental focus.”
A few of the fellas, perhaps, would disagree. But there is also an often-overlooked physical advantage for girls, McCauley said.
“Their center of balance is in their hips, as opposed to men, who have it in the upper body. So, typically, women are a little more stable. And most women have the advantage of being able to put their elbow on their hip bone, which is great for steadiness in shooting a rifle.”