San Salvador, El Salvador- Team USA Shooting Juniors win nine medals at the 2021 El Salvador Junior Airgun Grand Prix that took place March 8-14, 2021. In addition, they secured all available quotas for the Junior Pan American Games happening later this fall
The 2021 El Salvador Junior Airgun Grand Prix Team included Katrina Demerle, Natalie Perrin, Katie Zaun, Gavin Barnick, John Blanton III, Scott Rockett, Katelyn Abeln, Ada Korkhin, Suman Sanghera, Hunter Battig, Johnathan Dorsten, and Remington Smith. These juniors became members of the USAS National Junior Team on January 14th, 2021 through the 2021 USA Shooting National Championships.
Junior Men’s Pistol kicked off the competition with Hunter Battig (Colorado Springs, Colorado) finishing in the top spot after the 60-shot qualification round and Remington Smith (Auburn, Georgia) finishing fourth. Johnathan Dorsten (Bryan, Ohio) missed the finals cut off by one place finishing in ninth. At the conclusion of the finals match, Smith took first place and Battig finished second.
Immediately following junior men’s pistol our three junior women’s air rifle athletes took to the line. Team USA junior women looked strong in the 60-shot qualification with the following scores: Katie Zaun (Buffalo, North Dakota) 625.2, Katrina Demerle (Hamilton, Ohio) 624.3, and Natalie Perrin (Coopersville, Michigan) 619.7. This put the women first, second, and fifth heading into the finals. Demerle held the lead throughout all 30 finals shots and took home gold for Team USA. Zaun finished fourth and Perrin finished sixth.
Day two consisted of junior women’s pistol and junior men’s rifle. The junior women pistol athletes kicked off the day with all three women finishing in the top eight in the qualification round, earning a spot in the finals. Katelyn Ablen (Douglasville, Georgia) finished in the top spot with a score of 560-12x, Ada Korkhin (Brookline, Massachussets) with a 551-7x in fifth, and Suman Sanghera (Great Falls, Virginia) in sixth with a score of 545-13x. These women went on to finish fourth, fifth and seventh in the finals respectively. Note that during this match, the scoring system broke adding the extra challenge of having to check scores manually from each target print out.
The junior men’s rifle athletes followed suit with all three athletes earning a spot in the finals. Scott Rockett (Cary, North Carolina) finished the qualification round with a score of 619.8, John Blanton (West Point, Mississippi) finished right behind with a score of 618.8, and Gavin Barnick (Appleton, Wisconsion) in sixth after qualification with a score of 617.6. Barnick took second overall after the final’s competition scoring a 10.9 on his last shot. Rockett placed third, earning him a bronze medal on his 18th birthday.
Day three consisted of mixed team competitions. Air Rifle mixed team A consisted of Natalie Perrin and Gavin Barnick, B team was Katie Zaun and Scott Rockett with Katrina Demerle and John Blanton competing as team C. After a few tough relays, Perrin and Barnick finished sixth in the finals, Demerle and Blanton won bronze, and Zaun and Rockett clinched a silver medal.
On day four, the final day of competition, mixed team Air Pistol athletes took their shot at adding a few more medals to the count. Pistol mixed team A consisted of Remington Smith and Suman Sanghera, B team was Hunter Battig and Katelyn Abeln and C team had Johnathan Dorsten and Ada Korkhin. Dorsten and Korkhin finished seventh in the finals, Battig and Abeln won silver, and Smith and Sanghera won the final gold medal of the competition, rounding out a total of 9 medals for Team USA at the El Salvador Jr Grand Prix.
This competition serves as the qualification match for the first ever Junior Pan American Games later this year in Cali, Colombia. The Junior Pan American Games will provide the opportunity to earn extra Quota spots for the Pan American Games happening in 2023 in Santiago, Chile.
About USA Shooting
USA Shooting, a 501c3 non-profit corporation, was chartered by the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee as the National Governing Body for the sport of shooting in April 1995. The organization implements and manages development programs and sanctions events at the local, state, regional, and national levels.
Headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center, USA Shooting has a full-time staff dedicated to furthering the sport and supporting athletes and members of the organization. The organization has a USA Shooting News magazine publication, as well as public and member specific web sites.