Pistol Competition Wraps Final Week of National Junior Olympics

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (April 20, 2018)

The nearly three-week-long spectacle known as the National Junior Olympic Shooting Championships (NJOSC) has reached its final week with the Men’s and Women’s Pistol competition starting tomorrow at the Olympic Shooting Center in Colorado Springs.

Everyone competing at the NJOSC had to earn the right to compete at this prestigious match – 53% of Women’s Air Pistol competitors, 63% of Women’s Sport Pistol competitors, 46% of Men’s Air Pistol competitors and 74% of Men's Sport Pistol competitors nationally earned invitations, which 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. About 200 Pistol athletes will compete at this match.

While these athletes have their sights set on earning NJOSC medals and National Junior Team nominations, they will also be competing for the chance to represent the United States at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Championship August 31 – September 14 in Changwon, South Korea. For more information on World Championship Team selection procedures for Junior athletes, click here 

Though Juniors by age, the top qualifiers at the state level in Women’s Air Pistol and Women’s Sport Pistol have proven to be NJOSC contenders as they’ve already earned themselves slots on the Open Team for the World Championship with their performances at the Fall and Spring Selection Matches. 

The top Women’s Air Pistol qualifier, Katelyn Abeln (Douglasville, Georgia), posted the top score of 377 to earn her invitation. Abeln qualified for NJOSC in both women’s pistol events, but earned her slot on the Open World Championship Team in Women’s Sport Pistol. Abeln is the defending NJOSC champ in Sport as well as bronze medalist in Air. 

Sarah Choe (Los Angeles, California) is the top Women’s Sport Pistol qualifier with a score of 573. Choe was also last year’s top qualifier and she earned a bronze medal at NJOSC in 2017. Choe also won a silver in Air Pistol in 2017 at this match. She also earned herself a slot on the Open World Championship Team in Women’s Air Pistol. 2017 NJOSC Women’s Air Pistol Champion Kellie Foster (Rockdale, Texas) is also slated to compete in both events at this match. 

This year’s competition will also feature the new ISSF shooting format which means the Women’s Air Pistol events will now feature the same number of shots (60) as the men. Qualification scores for women in this match utilized the old ISSF format and were based on 40 shots in Air Pistol. 

The top national qualifier in Men’s Air and Sport Pistol is last year’s Air Pistol NJOSC champion, Jack Leverett III (Bainbridge, Georgia). Leverett scored a 571 in Air and 574 in Sport to earn his NJOSC invitation. He has also punched a ticket to the World Championship in the Open division in Men’s Rapid Fire Pistol. 

Leverett’s toughest competition may once again come from his brother, Henry, who was last year’s NJOSC gold medalist in Sport and bronze medalist in Air. Another athlete to watch for is Tony Chung (Diamond Bar, California) who won five medals at the 2017 National Championships. 

As this match is also a selection match for the World Championship Team, Men’s Rapid Fire Pistol (not contested at the state Junior Olympic level) will have a separate selection match following the conclusion of NJOSC competition on Wednesday and Thursday. 

During last year's NJOSC, the first Paralympic Rifle competitors also competed. Any Paralympic rifle athletes who qualified for NJOSC will also compete this week.

The NJOSC features the top 32 percent of all competitors in 2018, including 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.

Find links for schedules, start lists, scores and learn more about NJOSC at


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