Travis Zeis wins gold in WPIAL rifle championship


Evan Manion

Travis Zeis looks up from the shadows in the rifle range. Zeis became the first Bethel athlete in almost 20 years to win a WPIAL gold medal.

Josh Peters, Staff Writer

Bethel Park’s sharpshooting Travis Zeis claimed the gold in the WPIAL rifle championship this past Friday. He is the third Bethel Park rifle team member to win the championship. He is also qualified for states, where he looks to bring home the gold from there as well.

Travis Zeis is the first Bethel Park student to win a WPIAL rifle title in almost two decades. Nicole Cheberencheck won in 2003 and Mike Ruffing won in 2001.

He edged out Hempfield’s Lydia Dunn and Waynesburg’s Tayler Burnfield in a close match at the individual championships Friday.  Zeis also broke a streak of five consecutive female champions in the event.

“My goal was not to win WPIAL. I started this season with the plan to enjoy as much as I could because it is my senior year and I also wanted to try and shoot better than I did last year,” Zeis said.

Zeis is also an outstanding student and is college-bound. In regards to his post-high school plans, he said: “I really don’t have a plan because colleges do 3 positions. My coach said they run monthly practices and some of them are prone so I might participate in that.”

Being a skilled rifler is a hard feat, and it did not come easy to Zeis at first. Advice that he would give to potential rifle team members is “To stick with it and have patience. The sport seems super easy but it is challenging. A lot more goes into the sport than just lying down and pulling the trigger. So new shooters need to have patience and have a drive to constantly get better and better at the sport. “

Zeis would like to credit his success to his coach who taught him everything he knows and has helped him through the struggles he has encountered. Also, his teammates for being there for advice and companionship making rifle a place he is excited to go to.

Congratulations to Travis Zeis as this is an incredible accomplishment. Watch out for him to do big things at states.