The last wave of young shooting talent in the National Junior Olympic Shooting Championships (NJOSC) will descend on the Olympic Shooting Center starting tomorrow as the Pistol and Paralympic Rifle competition begins, wrapping up the three-week long competition.
Not only have the 607 Rifle and Pistol athletes who earned invitations to the NJOSC from the 48 state-level competitions competed (and will continue to compete) for medals and National Junior Team appointments, they’re also vying for the chance to represent the United States at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) Junior World Cup later this summer in Suhl, Germany. More than 160 Pistol and Paralympic Rifle athletes are slated to compete in this week’s competition.
With the ISSF World Cup in Beijing, China starting next week, many of the perennial favorites in the Pistol field such as Jackson and Henry Leverett (Bainbridge, Georgia) Katelyn Abeln(Douglasville, Georgia) and Hunter Battig (Colorado Springs, Colorado) on their way to China to compete against the world’s best, leaving the NJOSC podium potential more open than ever for a new crop of shooting talent.
Last year’s Women’s Sport and Air Pistol champion Sarah Choe (Los Angeles, California), however, will look to defend her titles in both of these events in Colorado Springs. She was the state champion in California in both events as well. She posted the top Qualification score in both events (including a Women’s Air Pistol score of 567), and her Women’s Sport Pistol Qualification score of 574 would have put her in the Final at last year’s World Championship.
Though her brothers are competing in China, last year’s Women’s Sport Pistol bronze medalist Abbie Leverett (Bainbridge, Georgia) will return to compete in Women’s Air and Sport Pistol and looks to promote that medal this year.
On the men’s side, Paul Kang (Los Angeles, California) has continued to develop as a Pistol athlete, winning the California state title in Men’s Air and Sport Pistol. His Sport Pistol score of 575 is also a world-class Junior score. He will compete in these events, as well as Rapid Fire Pistol, in which he won bronze in 2018. Also look for last year’s Men’s Air Pistol silver medalist Kyler Swisher (Palmyra, Pennsylvania), who won the Pennsylvania state title in this event and Ryan Yi (Diamond Bar, California), who won Men’s Sport Pistol bronze at last year’s event to do well.
This year marks the second time Paralympic Rifle competitors have had their own competition at NJOSC. Last year’s field of three has grown to nine athletes from around the country this year.
For invites, schedule and results, please visit the NJOSC page on the USA Shooting website: https://bit.ly/2Vt4MYi.
The NJOSC features the top 34 percent of all competitors in 2019 and features invitees that either won their state championship or were selected based on a score they attained. The competitors range in age from nine to 20 years old and are classified according to age as J1 (ages 18-20), J2 (ages 15-17) or J3 (ages 14 and younger).