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Marsh, Osborn and Stith Stand Atop Women’s Air Rifle Podium at National Junior Olympics

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (April 18, 2018)

Don’t be surprised if you see the medalists from the Women’s Air Rifle competition at the National Junior Olympic Shooting Championships (NJOSC) on top of another podium soon as the trio posted world-class scores en route to their wins today at the Olympic Shooting Center.

They’ll have a chance to test this theory as the overall medalists not only won NJOSC medals and National Junior Team slots, but also the chance to represent the United States in the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Championship August 31 – September 14 in Changwon, South Korea.

Everyone competing at the NJOSC had to earn the right to compete at this event - only 32 percent of Women’s Air Rifle athletes nationally earned invitations to this prestigious match. All competitors at this match either won their state championship or were selected based on a score they attained.   

Picking up her second medal of the match and the only Junior Women’s Rifle athlete to qualify for the World Championship Team in two events was TCU freshman Elizabeth Marsh (Searcy, Arkansas, pictured top), who won gold in Women’s Air Rifle. She also won silver earlier this week in Three-Position Rifle.

On the first day of Qualification, Marsh posted a score of 624.7 – a world-class score at the Open level that would put her in virtually any international Final. Though she faltered slightly on the second day (619.7), the additional points she earned with her third-place finish in the Final were enough to secure her the gold. (Additional points were added to the two Qualification scores for placement in the Final: 4 for first, 3.5 for second, 3 for third and so on in .5-point increments.)

Taking the overall silver was West Virginia freshman and Marsh’s 2015 Pan American Games teammate Sarah Osborn (Hampton Virginia). Osborn posted two, world-class, Junior-level scores (622.2 and 622.3). Today’s silver-medal win marks Osborn’s first overall NJOSC medal.

“It was a great match, considering what I’ve done at past Junior Olympics,” Osborn said. “I’ve changed a lot as a shooter as compared to past JOs. Joining WVU Rifle has helped me a lot, having the right mindset and having a coach like we do is fantastic.”

Rounding out the top three and claiming the bronze by .1 point was last year’s NJOSC champion, Emily Stith (U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit/Jacksonville, Florida).

“Being eight months off the rifle is definitely difficult for training, but I tried to bring it all back in,” said Stith, who has just recently joined the Army. “I was a little bit shaky on the Final, but it was a fun competition. Luckily, I can shoot all day at the Unit and I have a great team, they were jumping right in and helping me figure stuff out.”

This year’s women’s competition featured the new ISSF shooting format which means the Women’s Rifle and Air Pistol events featured the same number of shots (60) as the men. For many, this match was the first time they had shot 60 shots in the match, but it was nothing new to the overall medalists. NCAA Air Rifle competitions are also 60 shots and men and women compete together.

“My first three years in Washington was three years of a full course of 60 shots,” said Stith, shrugging at the additional shots in the women’s competition. “I haven’t shot a 60-shot match in a long time, but I’ve done it before. It’s more fun than shooting a 40-shot. In a 40-shot match – I think all the Junior women can attest to it – it’s harder to make up low shots in a 40 than it is in a 60. If you have a good lead and you’re supposed to have an intense start for 40 shots - it’s a crazy high score you can shoot if you just keep it up!”

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. 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).

Awards were also given for the top finishers in each of the age categories. The J2 gold medal went to Claire O’Neel (Frederick, Maryland), the silver medal went to Kaylene Castillo (Albuquerque, New Mexico) and the bronze went to Katie Zaun (Buffalo, North Dakota).

In the J3 category, Katrina Demerle (Cincinnati, Ohio) won the gold, Lauren O’Brien (Somerset, Massachusetts) won the silver and Riley O’Connell (Taunton, Massachusetts) won the bronze.

Complete Women’s Rifle results from NJOSC: http://www.usashooting.org/library/Competitions/0_2018/RP_JO/National_JO/Results/Womens_Rifle/Final_Womens_Rifle_JO_Results.pdf.

Competition at NJOSC continues Friday with the start of the Pistol competition. Look for that preview coming out tomorrow.

View results from the competition, start lists and learn more about NJOSC: http://www.usashooting.org/7-events/njosc/njoscrifle.

 

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