Despite record low temperatures outside Wednesday, the Women’s Air Rifle Final of the National Junior Olympic Shooting Championships (NJOSC) was hotly contested on the indoor range of the U.S. Olympic Shooting Center in Colorado Springs. And as the last pellet settled into place, it was a pair of Falcons that would claim two of the event’s top-three prizes.
A mix of high school and collegiate talent faced-off in the final with Air Force sophomore Meredith Carpentier (Waukegan, Ill.) showcasing her mettle throughout the two-day, 90-shot event to walk away with the overall title. In second place heading into today, Carpentier shot a 396/400 to open up a five-point advantage on second-place qualifiers and National Junior Team members Elizabeth Gratz (Sigel, Ill.) and Haylea Broughton (Tulsa, Okla.).
Carpentier would be the only one of the three to survive the medal push of the other event finalists as the second through fifth-place finishers would be determined by a mere .7 points in the end. Day-one leader and 16-year-old Sasha Perez (Newberg, Ore.) came up from the fifth position with a 104.0 final to claim the second podium spot. Carpentier’s Air Force teammate Kevyn Stinett (Colorado Springs, Colo.) would earn the bronze medal, falling .3 shy of Perez and finishing that same margin ahead of Gratz.
The Women’s Air Rifle featured collegiate competitors from Air Force, Nebraska (Magdalena Mical), and Texas Christian University (Megan Lee).
Carpentier seems to be a rising force in Women’s Air Rifle nationally as she recently finished seventh overall at the 2013 NCAA Rifle Championships and her Junior Olympic qualifying score of 399 is a world-class result in any competition. As an Air Force cadet, she’s no stranger to uniform and the greater meaning behind it. Still, as she was awarded her USA Shooting National Team jacket, she recognized the significance of her accomplishment.
“That’s a big deal. I’m used to representing the Air Force and everything, I get that all the time, ‘Be on your best behavior wherever you go’ when I’m representing the Air Force, but now I have a big old U S of A on my back and that’s an even bigger deal,” she said. “That means representing the whole country so that takes my whole self-image thing to a whole other level.”
Today’s hot shot no doubt was 16-year-old Minden Miles (Weatherford, Texas) who had to win a shoot-off against Alison Weisz (Belgrade, Mont.) even to make the final. But, once she did she proved that she more than belonged with an finals-high score of 104.8 in the event that took her from eighth position to sixth.
High J2 (15-17 year-olds) finisher was Gratz while 14-year-old Elizabeth Ewert(Burnsville, Minn.) earned top scores in the J3 (14-under) category.
The surname Martin will be an important one to remember as shooting unfolds in three-position smallbore (.22 caliber) starting Thursday. The 2012 bronze medalist,Mackenzie Martin (Fairhaven, Mass.), will be looking to advance her position on the podium while Rachel Martin (Peralta, N.M.) looks to improve on her sixth-place finish from last year. Rachel most recently finished first at the Rocky Mountain Rifle Championships in February. A pair of Keystone State shooters stand ready to rain on the Martin parade including last year’s 14th place finisher Alyssa Gestl(Palmyra, Pa.) who posted the second highest score of qualification. Deanna Binnie (Hollsopple, Pa.) has been practicing in the off-season after her 19th place finish from 2012 by posting the highest qualifying score of 584.
Qualifying for the National competition begins at the state level as State Junior Olympic Championships included competition in 47 states utilizing 80 different USA Shooting clubs. The 2013 competition consisted of over 2,200 individual participants in rifle and pistol events. State champions and those who qualify via high scores are invited to Colorado Springs to compete in the NJSOC
The competition takes place over a three-week period with over 500 of the finest junior shooters in attendance. The top-two finishers in each event earn a spot on USA Shooting’s National Junior Team. The 17-day event features shooting matches in Men’s & Women’s Pistol (Air/Sport) and Rifle (Air/Smallbore).
More information can also be found on the USA Shooting website by clicking on the ‘National Junior Olympic Program’ link located under the ‘Events’ tab. Follow along also using the Twitter Hashtag #NJOSC or via the USA Shooting’sFacebook page. For scores, please visit USA Shooting’s match results page following each competition.
Women’s 10m Air Rifle NJOSC Finalists
Name (Hometown) Finals Overall
- Meredith Carpentier (Waukegan, Ill.) 102.4 893.4
- Sasha Perez (Newberg, Ore.) 104.0 888.0
- Kevyn Stinett (Colorado Springs, Colo.) 102.7 887.7
- Elizabeth Gratz (Sigel, Ill.) 101.4 887.4
- Haylea Broughton (Tulsa, Okla.) 101.3 887.3
- Minden Miles (Weatherford, Texas) 104.8 883.8
- Megan Lee (Holly Springs, N.C.) 98.4 881.4
- Magdalena Mical (Clearwater, Fla.) 97.6 877.6
Image courtesy USA Shooting