A year after finishing 2-8 in its section, the Butler rifle team has started off the 2012-13 season red hot. The Golden Tornado is 5-0 overall and 2-0 in Section 3.
With a 799.67-787.49 win over Indiana last week, Butler is now the top-ranked rifle team in the WPIAL along with section rival Hempfield (3-0, 2-0). Hempfield is the reigning Section 1 champion. The Spartans went on to finish as WPIAL runner-up in the team championships. They last won WPIALs in 2010.
Rounding out Section 3 is Indiana (1-4, 0-2) and Plum (1-3, 0-2).
The Section 2 race early on appears to be between Trinity (5-0, 4-0), Woodland Hills (5-1, 3-1) and Mt. Lebanon (4-2, 2-2). The Wolverines are defending WPIAL champions while Trinity finished fourth at the WPIAL team championships last season after winning it in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2011.
On Dec. 20 Trinity edged Mt. Lebanon 799.61-797.59 in a crucial section contest. Woodland Hills showed how dangerous of a team it is when it posted a WPIAL season-high score of 800.72 in a win over Indiana, which had 796.54.
The other contenders in Section 2 are Bethel Park (3-3, 1-3), Washington (2-4, 2-2) and Upper St. Clair (0-5, 0-4).
Section 1 appears to be a two-horse race between McGuffey (4-2, 4-2) and Avella (3-3, 3-1).
Avella finished third in the WPIAL team championships last season and last won WPIALs in 2008. This past week it defeated Washington 792.58-784.48 and Waynesburg Central 799.62-781.45. McGuffey picked up wins last week against West Greene (796.66-773.32) and Washington (793.52-784.33).