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Phillips, Marsh and Hemphill Medal in Women’s Three-Position Rifle at National Junior Olympics

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (April 16, 2018)

A weekend of Women’s Three-Position Rifle competition wrapped today at the National Junior Olympic Shooting Championships (NJOSC) with two-time defending NCAA Smallbore National Champion and last year’s NJOSC bronze medalist Morgan Phillips (Salisbury, Maryland) taking top honors in the event.

Phillips, a sophomore at West Virginia, had the gold medal virtually in hand after two Qualification matches. She entered the Final with a two-day Qualification total of 2325 – 12-points higher than the second-highest Qualification of 2313 posted by eventual silver medalist Elizabeth Marsh (Searcy, Arkansas).  Though Phillips didn’t need the additional points earned by placement in the Final (eight for first, seven for second and so on), she also won the Final by 1.6 points over Marsh.

“I was sick for the whole thing, but just kind of did my thing when I got to the matches and I think it went well,” Phillips said. “In the Final, I just kind of ignored what I did in Qualification and had fun with it and it went well.

In addition to their medal finishes and nominations to the National Junior Team, Phillips, Marsh and bronze medalist Kristen Hemphill (Lohn, Texas) also earned the chance to represent the United States at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Championship later this summer in Changwon, South Korea.

Phillips was part of the Junior World Championship Team that competed last summer in Suhl, Germany where she finished with the top Qualification score and in fourth place overall. Marsh and Hemphill will make their World Championship debuts in Changwon.

“I’m just hoping to do something similar this year,” Phillips said. “It’s going to take a lot of training.”

Marsh’s second-place finish in the Final was enough to secure her the silver medal overall. On the first day of Qualification, Marsh shot a score of 1152, but on the second day, she shot a score nine points higher.

“It was a little rough at first,” said the TCU freshman. “Had some gun problems – my scores were a little lower than I wanted to – but got them fixed by the second day so I was happy about that. My goal at this match was to make the Junior World Team so getting back and shooting better the second day brought my hopes back up about reaching that goal.”

For Hemphill, however, the push to the end was more of an emotional roller coaster. She struggled through the Final, including knocking over her shooting stand and spilling her ammo. Hemphill’s tears of disappointment, however, quickly turned to those of joy when she learned the one point she earned by her finish in the Final was enough to secure her the bronze medal and a spot on the World Championship Team.

“I couldn’t exactly figure out where my shots were going,” Hemphill said. “I couldn’t call my shots. I just tried to push through it, keep my mind clear – even with everything going on – but it just wasn’t my day, and that just happens! I was crying because I was happy I got third, but sad I didn’t do very well in the Final. But I was also crying because I knew I made third and it’s just an experience that maybe I’ll never have again, or maybe I will – who knows!”

This year’s competition featured the new ISSF shooting format which means the Women’s Rifle and Air Pistol events will now feature the same number of shots (60) as the men. They also shot the same number of shots (120, 40 in each of the three shooting positions) in Three-Position Rifle as in the men’s competition.

Medals were also presented to the top finishers in the J2 (Age 15-17) and J3 (Age 14 and younger) age categories.

The gold medalist in J2 was Katie Zaun (Buffalo, North Dakota), the silver medalist was Molly McGhin (Griffin, Georgia) and the bronze medalist was Morgan Kreb (Colorado Springs, Colorado).

In the J3 category, Katrina Demerle (Cincinnati, Ohio) won the gold medal, Mia Lee (West Roxbury, Massachusetts) won silver and Grace Foley (Pawtucket, Rhode Island) won bronze.

Everyone competing at the NJOSC had to earn the right to compete at this event - only 16 percent of Women’s Three-Position Rifle athletes nationally earned invitations to this prestigious match. Invitations to the three-week-long National Junior Olympics were only sent to 763 athletes Rifle and Pistol athletes representing 49 states. These athletes were selected based on their finishes at the state-level Junior Olympic matches which totaled 2,408 competitors.

Complete results from the Women’s Three-Position Rifle event: http://www.usashooting.org/library/Competitions/0_2018/RP_JO/National_JO/Results/Womens_Rifle/Final_Womens_Rifle_Smallbore_Results.pdf.

Competition continues in the Women’s Air Rifle event where 196 of the top Juniors in the country will take to the firing line. For start lists for this event: http://www.usashooting.org/library/Competitions/0_2018/RP_JO/National_JO/Start_List/Women_Rifle/Women_Rifle_Smallbore_Day_3.pdf.

Learn more about NJOSC: http://www.usashooting.org/7-events/njosc/njoscrifle.

 

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