WHS grad hits her mark

Paige Biles, a graduating senior at Wickenburg High School, lost her chance to compete at nationals as a member of the high-power rifle team because of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. However, she’ll be the only graduate in the U.S. to wear an Honor Cord for being on a high-power rifle team. (Courtesy photo)

By Shawn Byrne

Sun Editor

It’s one thing to be the only senior recognized at graduation for an outstanding achievement, it’s quite another to be the only graduating senior in the U.S. to be honored for it. Paige Biles, Class of 2020, will wear an Honor Cord for being a member of the Wickenburg High School Rifle Team, the only high school in the U.S. with such a team.

“As far as I know she’s the only one in the U.S.,” said Rex Powers, WHS rifle coach. “She’s an excellent shot and a great kid who is a hard worker.”

The WHS rifle team currently has a roster of freshmen and sophomores other than Biles, and that gives the senior some bragging rights.

“It is an amazing feeling to be able to say I am the only one to get it,” Biles said. “Right now for the next two years, I’m like ‘Woo!’ It’s amazing.”

Biles moved to Wickenburg last year and was somewhat disappointed to learn WHS didn’t have an ROTC program. She found the rifle team and began a quest to reach U.S. nationals. She attended nationals her junior year but only in support of her team members who qualified. She was excited about getting her chance this year, but then the COVID-19 pandemic crisis hit the U.S.

“I’m disappointed I didn’t get to experience it,” Biles said. “I didn’t get the chance to prove myself to see if I could do my best against the best.”

Her disappointment didn’t go unnoticed by Powers.

“It’s sad because she’s been working for two years to go to this event,” he said. “It’s really tough on these kids who have worked countless hours working on getting really good at their craft and sport.”

Biles has four siblings, and she’s making the best out of the difficult situation presented to her by the COVID-19 crisis. And, in the meantime, she’s been thinking of her options after high school.

“I got to spend more time with my siblings before I leave and go do what it is I’m going to do,” she said. “I’ve looked at the military, but I’m also looking at fire fighting and how to get in there. I know I should decide, but it’s a tough decision.”

Whatever Biles decides to do, we all can rest assured that she’ll be helping people whether she joins the military, becomes a firefighter, or maybe even a firefighter in the military.

“I loved tutoring kids at math,” she said. “I like helping people, and both rifle and tutoring helped me to do that.”

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