Arkansas Youth Shooters Compete In Junior Olympic Qualifier
LONOKE, Arkansas – -(AmmoLand.com)- Hundreds of youth shooters competed June 26, 27, and 28 in the first annual Arkansas Junior Olympic Qualifier Tournament, a foretaste of summer competitions and camps aimed to develop a new competitive standard in Arkansas.
“These international competitions place Arkansas on the map,” said Chuck Woodson, AGFC Arkansas Youth Shooting Sports Coordinator. “If Arkansas youth shooters compete well at the international level, they could potentially compete in the 2012 Olympics.”
The Arkansas Junior Olympic Qualifier Tournament hosted 202 youth who shot in International Trap form, a challenging twist on standard American Trap. In comparison with American Trap, shooters competing under International Trap encounter several differences, which include: clay targets are shot at speeds roughly twice as fast from unknown angles and heights, and they can travel over 85 yards whereas American Trap targets soar roughly 50 yards, among other differences.
The 10 top-scoring individuals of this tournament will receive all-expenses-paid attendance at a Junior Olympic Development Shotgun Training Camp, set for August 20-23 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. Starting with the top scorer, these individuals are Wesley Wilcox, Greenbrier High School; Nick Adams, Genoa FFA; Ethan Pruitt, Searcy Clay Dusters; Hunter Gallant, Batesville Pioneers; Tyler Hartsfield, Pangburn Shooting Team; William Gathright, Scrapper Traps; Kyler Johnson, Green Forest; Alec Bolin, Russellville; Bryce Holwick, Greenwood Bulldogs; and Josh Hall, Mt. Ida FFA. The next fourteen scorers in line are eligible to attend but must pay for attendance expenses.
“Since the Arkansas Youth Sports Shooting Program is the largest program in the nation, USA Shooting offered to host our own development camp,” Woodson said. “We’re breaking ground, especially when you consider that the other existing development camps only host individuals from across the country, much less a group of participants from one state.”
Additionally, if athletes competing in the Arkansas Junior Olympic Qualifier Tournament hit 105 targets out of 125 attempts, they became eligible to compete in the National Junior Olympic Tournament, to be held July 24-26 in Colorado Springs, Colo. Woodson said about 20 Arkansas youth will compete in this tournament.
“This [Junior Olympic qualifier tournament] is the first step towards making an Olympic team,” said Mike Bonds, assistant chief of the AGFC Education and Outreach Division.
Arkansas’ highly successful shooting program stems from the committed individuals involved.
“We have so many volunteer coaches—454 coaches and assistant coaches from 65 counties,” Woodson said. “Our program wouldn’t be anything without all the coaches and athletes.”