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Junior Olympic & World Champs Opportunity Awaits 763 Young Athletes

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (February 21, 2018)

There’s few things that mean more to youth across America participating in the shooting sports than the opportunity to compete in the National Junior Olympic Shooting Championships (NJOSC).  Well, those 2018 presents got unveiled Tuesday with first round invites being sent out by USA Shooting to attend the annual April event in Colorado Springs. 

With that invite comes the possibility for an athlete to try and earn a spot to compete for their country at the 2018 International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Championships, set for August 31-September 14 in Changwon, South Korea.  That distinction will go to the top three finishers in each of the eight events.  

Junior Olympic Invitations were sent to 763 athletes representing 49 states. They were selected following championship competition at the state level which totaled 2,408 competitors. The NJOSC will feature the top 32 percent of all competitors in 2018 and will feature invitees that either won their state championship or were selected based on a score they attained.  The competitors range in age from 10 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).

Top scoring qualifiers include five current National Junior Team members. Top qualifiers included: National Junior Team member Emily Stith (Jacksonville, Florida) along with Kestrel Kuhne (Everett, Pennsylvania) in Women’s Air Rifle with a score of 397 while Kuhne was also top scorer in Women’s Smallbore (.22 caliber) Rifle with a score of 586; National Junior Team members Katelyn Abeln (Douglasville, Georgia) in Women’s Air Pistol with a score of 377 and for the second consecutive year Sarah Choe (Los Angeles, California) in Women’s Sport Pistol with a score of 573; National Junior Team member Jacob Buchanan (Spring, Texas) in Men’s Air Rifle with a score of 597; Navy athlete Daniel Enger (Walla Walla, Washington) in Men’s Smallbore Rifle with a score of 590; National Junior Team member Jackson Leverett (Bainbridge, Georgia) in Men’s Air and Sport Pistol with scores of 570 and 574.  

Keystone state representative Kuhne is one of 40 athletes that call Pennsylvania home, the most of any state. The top club showing is the National Training Center (NTC) Junior Club with 28 athletes. Ten-year-old Men’s Rifle competitor Cash Willhite (Midland, Texas) earns the distinction as the youngest participant in the field while the 11-year-old pistol competitor Annabell Yi (Diamond Bar, California) is the youngest female competitor. They are among a group of 40 invites awarded to J3 athletes (14 years and younger). 

In addition, three Paralympic competitors have earned the opportunity to compete during NJOSC and they include Gracie Hoyt (Mullen, Nebraska), Moira Antal (Bealeton, Virginia) and National Junior Team member Stetson Bardfield(Colorado Springs, Colorado), who will compete for the second consecutive year.  

This year’s competition will feature the new International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) shooting format which means that the women’s rifle and air pistol events will now feature the same number of shots (60) as the men. 

Check the complete list of 2018 NJOSC Invites here: 

Men’s Rifle Invites | Women’s Rifle Invites | Pistol Invites  

Hear Olympic medalists and former NJOSC competitors Matt Emmons (Browns Mills, New Jersey) and Ginny Thrasher (Springfield, Virginia) welcome this year’s Junior Olympic attendees.  EMMONS | THRASHER 

The 20-day spectacle of youth competition begins Saturday, April 7 with Men’s Rifle, which leads into Women’s Rifle beginning April 14 and concludes with the Junior Pistol program and Paralympic Air Rifle starting April 20. All competitions give athletes the opportunity to train and compete at the USA Shooting indoor ranges on location at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  

2018 NJOSC Schedules  

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