Blue Devil Cadets Win Washington State Junior Olympic Air Rifle Match
The Blue Devil JROTC Precision Team claimed the Junior Olympic Air Rifle Washington State Championship at the Spokane Rifle Club on Saturday. The match was held in 3 different locations in Washington State in February and March, with nearly 40 shooters from 7 different rifle teams across the state represented. Individual athletes in this match may receive invitations to the Junior Olympic National Championship held at the Olympic Training Center at a future date to be determined by the match host, USA Shooting.
In Junior Olympics, shooters compete in a pair of matches, both scored separately. The first is a smallbore .22 rifle match fired from the kneeling, prone and finally the standing positions at a distance of 50 feet. Each position has a possible score of 200, for a total of 600 points. The smallbore match is followed by a separate air rifle match, 60 record shots, all fired from the standing position at a distance of 10 meters.
WAHI’s top shooter in the smallbore match Saturday morning was Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Lopez-Gutierrez who fired a 545 out of 600, followed close behind by Cadet Captain Jazmyn Paul with a 523.
“We have only had 2 smallbore practices this year.” Said Lopez-Gutierrez after the match Saturday. “All things considered, we shot surprisingly well in that event.”
That afternoon the Blue Devils competed in the air rifle match with Cadet First Sergeant Nicole Hunter taking 3rd place overall in the women’s division with a 572 and Cadet Sergeant First Class Cassidy Hanson taking 5th behind a 566. In the men’s division WAHI’s highest score went to Lopez-Gutierrez with a 557 finishing in 4th place statewide.
“572 is a new personal record for me.” Said Hunter “Last year I shot a 563 and was invited to Nationals, but the event was cancelled because of the pandemic. I have been doing a lot of work in the standing position because I really wanted to qualify this year again.”
“Hunter’s and Hanson’s scores will almost certainly qualify both of them for the Junior Olympic National Match in Colorado.” Said Mebes “There is also a very good chance that Lopez-Gutierrez will receive an invitation as well. These cadets made a phenomenal showing considering that they have only been able to practice for a little over a month this year.”
Once the scores were tabulated on Sunday evening after the last teams had completed WAHI led the state by a score of 1695 over the second place team, the Vancouver Grizzly Bears’ 1666.
The Blue Devils return home this week to train for their next contests, including the JROTC and CMP Virtual Rifle Championship that they will conduct on their home range in April.
Press release from this weekend's rifle match