Men’s Rifle Kicks Off National Junior Olympic Shooting Championships as Athletes Strive for Jr World Champs Selection

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (April 5, 2017)

Will Shaner is the returning Junior Olympic Champion in both Air Rifle and Prone Rifle. He won both junior Air Rifle events at the Meyton Cup earlier this year for the second straight time. Every April is special at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Like the arrival of springtime in the Rockies, USA Shooting welcomes the best rifle and pistol junior talent in the country for the National Junior Olympic Shooting Championships (NJOSC). Men’s rifle competition kicks off 18 straight days of shooting action beginning Saturday.

The target some 200 Men’s Rifle athletes have their sights on now is a spot on the Junior World Championship Team. The top-two finishers in each event at NJOSC will earn the right to compete for Team USA at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) Junior World Championship, June 22-29 in Suhl, Germany.  A junior committee made up of USA Shooting coaches/staff will determine a potential third spot in each discipline. 

The NJOSC will feature the top 30 percent of all competitors in 2017 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).  Eleven-year-old Air Rifle competitor Jacob Wisman (Independence, West Virginia) and Smallbore (.22 caliber) athlete Braden Peiser (San Angelo, Texas) are the youngest competitors in the Men’s Rifle field. The breakdown of competitors includes 187 Air Rifle and 66 Smallbore starts.

For the first time ever, the NJOSC will also feature Paralympic competitors with the addition of two athletes including National Training Center (NTC) Club athlete Stetson Bardfield (Colorado Springs, Colorado) in the Men’s Rifle competition.  

Based on State Junior Olympic qualifying scores, Men’s Rifle favorites will include National Junior Team member and 2016 silver medalist Spencer Cap (Cranbury, New Jersey) in Air with a qualifying score of 595 along with Trace Haynes (Hazlehurst, Georgia), Elijah Larimer (Arvada, Colorado) and Peter Fiori, Jr. (Lebanon, New Jersey) in Men’s Smallbore Rifle with identical scores of 583.  Reigning JO champ in Air is Will Shaner (Colorado Springs, Colorado) who posted a 586 to win the Colorado state title and get an automatic qualifier.  Will Anti (Colorado Springs, Colorado) also qualified assuring that all three 2016 Air Rifle medalists return in 2017.   None of last year’s medalists are set to return in Smallbore but look for Cap and Shaner to be in the medal hunt after finishing fourth and fifth in 2016.  Also, look for The Ohio State University freshman and 2015 JO National Champion Jacob Buchanan (Spring, Texas) to try and reclaim his title. 

Keep an eye on National Training Center Junior Club athlete Jared Desrosiers (Swansea, Massachusetts) after his strong showing at the recent Robert Mitchell Rifle Championships.  The 20-year-old Desrosiers was the top junior in Prone and Three-Position events.  Learn more about Jared . . .

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).

"Competing in the Junior Olympics was what sparked my desire to compete both collegiately and in the Olympics,” said 2012 Olympian Amanda Furrer, who recounts competing in at least eight NJOSCs. “I grew amazing friendships at the match and learned a lot about myself as a competitor. When I look back on my shooting career, I always remember the fun times I had and the goals I achieved at the Junior Olympics."

Junior Olympic Invitations were sent to 790 athletes representing 49 states. They were selected following championship competition at the state level which totaled 2,568 competitors.  

Competition in each Men’s Rifle event of Air, Prone and Three-Position will include two qualification matches and one Final that will feature the top-eight athletes based on their cumulative qualification scores. Points will be provided to each Finalist based on order of finish in the one Final and podium spots will be awarded based on an overall match score combining both qualification rounds and Finals points.

Women’s Rifle begins Saturday, April 15 with Pistol to follow on Friday, April 21. 

NJOSC Men’s Rifle Schedule

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