Henry Leverett & Kellie Foster Earn Top Podium Spots to Conclude 2017 NJOSC

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (April 24, 2016)

Henry Leverett and Kellie Foster helped bring to a close the 2017 National Junior Olympic Shooting Championships (NJOSC) with top performances in Sport and Air Pistol.  The top-two athletes in each event were named to the Junior World Championship Team that will compete in Suhl, Germany later this summer.

JO Sport Pistol Champ, Henry LeverettIf there’s a Men’s Junior Pistol event happening, you can assume a Leverett boy is going to be hunting a podium spot and this year’s National Junior Olympic Shooting Championships were no exception. Today it was 15-year-old Henry’s turn as he defended his NJOSC title from 2016, defeating older brother Jack, 17, in the process.  Those two have combined to win seven NJOSC medals the past three years. 

With a silver today, plus a win Saturday in Men’s Air Pistol, Jack earned the #BeBrazen Most Outstanding Male Pistol Athlete of the Match honors.  He just edged Henry who finished first today combined with a third-place finish in Air. 

Henry had an eight-point lead heading into the Final and would finish third there to top big brother by seven points. Mason Talbert (College Station, Texas) would win the Final and thus propel him onto the podium with a third-place finish. 

The Leveretts, out of Bainbridge, Georgia, are accomplishing these junior feats having still not reached the top age bracket.  Jack will move into the J1 category (18 to 21 years of age) next year while Henry still competes as a J2 (15 to 17 years of age) for two more years. Younger sister, Abbie, added to the family’s collection of medals this year competing in her first NJOSC and winning the J2 category in both Air and Sport Pistol and finishing fifth overall in both events as a 14-year-old.

Half of the Men’s Sport Pistol Finalists were 17 or younger with the youngest being 14-year-old Ryan Yi (Diamond Bar, California). Yi finished fourth overall and won the J3 (14 years and younger) competition.

Luke Simon (Fargo, North Dakota) earned the top spot in the J2 category with Brandon Choi (La Crescenta, California) and Zachary Miller (Sylacauga, Alabama) also stepping onto the podium with silver and bronze, respectively.  Yi helped headline a J3 podium sweep for the ever-powerful pistol program of the California-based Bridge Jr. Shooting Club.  Edmund Lee (Yorba Linda, California) finished second followed by Paul Kang (Los Angeles, California).

IJO Air Pistol Champ, Kellie Fostern Women’s Air Pistol, Foster (Rockdale, Texas) had a great first day of competition Sunday and then did enough Monday to hang on for a one-point victory over Sarah Choe (Los Angeles, California). Entering the Final with a four-point advantage over Choe, there was plenty of drama to follow after Foster’s early exit from the Final that made things interesting. Choe would finish second in the Final to Katelyn Abeln (Douglasville, Georgia).  If Choe would have won the Final, she would have forced a shoot-off with Foster to determine the Air Pistol champion.

Foster’s inspiration came from watching the Olympic hype video that greets patrons visiting the U.S. Olympic Training Center.  “That video reminded me of why I started shooting in the first place and why I love the sport so much,” Foster stated.  “God can give you inspiration through anything and I think that’s why I did so well in this match.  I was inspired by the Olympic athletes that train so hard for their moment.  You could say I let the little things inspire my one big thing today.”

Abeln was named the #BeBrazen Most Outstanding Female Pistol Athlete of the Match following a win in Sport Pistol and today’s bronze-medal finish in Air Pistol. 

Abby Leverett earned the top podium spot in the J2 category followed by Yulong Jones (Germantown, Maryland) and Carrie Haltiwanger (Little Mountain, South Carolina).  The Yi sisters from Diamond Bar, California and the Bridge Jr. Shooting Club earned first and third in the J3 category with Angela Yi earning the top spot followed by the youngest pistol competitor in the field, 10-year-old Annabell with bronze.  Sandwiched between the Yi sisters was Ada Korkhin (Brookline, Massachusetts).

Upon the conclusion of this year’s NJOSC, more than 790 athletes made their way through the U.S. Olympic Training Center to compete.  Athletes invited to Colorado Springs comprised the top tier of athletes that competed in a state level events totaling 2,658 competitors.  The NJOSC features the top 30 percent of all competitors in 2017 and will featured invitees that either won their state championship or were selected based on a score they attained.

2017 NJOSC Recaps

Men’s Rifle -- Air | 3-Position

Women’s Rifle -- Air | 3-Position

Pistol – Women’s Sport | Men’s Air

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