By Sue Wambolt, Contributing Writer
Northborough/Southborough – While many of her peers are participating in extracurricular sports and activities at school, Algonquin Regional High School senior Margot Lee can be found at the Marlborough Fish and Game Club, 1 Muddy Lane, sighting in her Anschutz 2013 (2018 stock), 13-pound .22 caliber smallbore rifle.
Ever since Lee was very young, her parents encouraged her to try new things. She learned how to ski and swim when she was 2, she learned to dance and twirl a baton when she was 8, and she learned to shoot a gun when she was 13.
According to Lee, “it was love at first sight.”
While her father shot on the pistol team in college and was very comfortable around guns, Lee's mother was apprehensive about her daughter's hobby and the danger surrounding it. Still, she learned about shooting and firearm-safety programs for kids in middle and high school and became intrigued. Knowing that Lee was serious about shooting, both of her parents completed a firearm safety class, receiving their Firearm Identification Cards (FID) and Licenses to Carry (LTC).
Lee's first experience shooting competitively took place at the junior program at Harvard Sportsmen's Club. There, she fired several rounds at an A-36 target (which has circular targets about the diameter of two inches) from 50 feet away and hit every single one. She went on to continue to practice and compete, eventually making it to the Camp Perry (sponsored by the NRA) nationals in Ohio.
Lee shoots matches in Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine and a few places in Massachusetts. She has also gone to the Junior Olympics in Colorado Springs at the Olympic Training Center and Camp Perry Nationals. Her favorite is the Hopkinton Prone Matches, a series of smallbore rifle matches, which take place Thursday nights April through August in Hopkinton. The competitors shoot prone (lying down) and shoot targets at 100 yards – afterward, there is a bonfire with pizza and freshly popped popcorn.
Each year at Camp Perry Nationals, the top 10 junior shooters are chosen to represent the United States in an international postal match. The competition, called the Drew Cup, is named in honor of the late William Drew, a prominent British smallbore rifleman during the interwar years. Lee has earned this honor three years running.
To those who question Lee's chosen sport she said, “I explain that it is an Olympic sport just like any other, with many people and many rules where everyone shoots from behind a safety line at targets range from 50 yards/meters (based on the competition) to 100 yards/meters away outdoors or 30 meters to 50 feet away for indoor competitions.”
Lee received her FID card when she was 15; it required attending a full-day firearm safety course, taking a test and passing a background check. Having the card allows her to purchase ammunition and travel with her firearm – as long as it is a “long arm” (a gun designed to be fired braced against the shoulder). When an individual is 21 he or she can travel and carry a “short arm,” such as a pistol or revolver as well.
“A lot of people think that you have to be older to receive your FID card,” Lee said, “but I think that it's great for people of any age to take a firearm safety course. It takes away any fear or mystique it may have for someone who is uneducated about the piece of equipment.”
When Lee is not at the range or competing, she can often be found volunteering at the MetroWest Humane Society in Ashland. She also does the design and layout for Algonquin's literary magazine, “Sachem,” works at a Christian camp in the summer, and helps with coaching new shooters at the Marlboro Fish and Game Club.
“I do a lot of reading and stay involved with youth programs in church. I know shooters who shoot nonstop it seems, missing out on school, church and family time,” Lee said, “but I try to stay well rounded.”
In the fall, Lee will be heading to Gordon College to study biotechnology.
(Photos/courtesy Margot Lee.)