Xavier High School rifle team coach Aaron King knew his team was having its best match of the year as the state championships were unfolding Tuesday.
What he didn't know is if it would be enough to knock off Wilbraham & Monson, the two-time defending champions.
It would come down to the final competitors.
Xavier saved its best for last and got rewarded when CJ Sokol shot a 196, which included two perfect 50s, and Jacob Cink came in with a 191, also getting two perfect 50 scores in individual disciplines.
That meant Xavier's top five scores were 190 or above as Brian Masselli had a 192, Joseph Tedeschi a 191 and Joseph Marcin a 190. Xavier ended up with three of the top 10 scorers and all five were among the top 12. Marcin shot seven points better than his season average.
Wilbraham & Monson had shooters put up scores of 197 and 195 but all its other scores were under 190.
So Xavier won 960-955. Bunnell of Stratford was third with a 954 in a tight battle.
During the regular season Xavier was only 2-4, though it did have the third best scoring average among the 11 teams in the league. That got the Falcons into the playoffs and as sometimes happens in sports, they saved their best for last.
Everything came together at the right time. Sokol was on the 2016 state championship team as a freshman. Now he was bookending titles, walking away with one as a senior.
Sokol also took home a trophy for finishing with the third best average in the regular season, a 194.33. Cink also got a trophy for his top 10 average (191.67, eighth).
"I'm incredibly happy," Sokol said as his parents as well as others were there for the big moment. "We really pulled it together for States. Everyone shot their best and that's all you can ask for."
Likewise, King was happy for his team.
"It's awesome," King said. "The kids came together and decided they wanted to do it."
And then they went out and did it. The hardware was coming home to Randolph Road.
Xavier High School is a private, Catholic all-boys high school located in Middletown, CT.