Colorado Springs, CO -(AmmoLand.com)- Competition in the Men’s Rifle portion of the 2016 National Junior Olympic Shooting Championships (NJOSC) ended Wednesday with Will Shaner and Nathan Brewer earning the three titles handed out at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The 2016 Junior Olympic Champion in Men's Air Rifle is 14-year-old Shaner (Colorado Springs, Colorado). He went into the event Finals down 1.5 points following a big qualifying day from Spencer Cap (Cranbury, New Jersey), but emerged with a .5 margin of victory over the Air Force cadet. Shaner finished second in the Final while Cap finished fourth to help move him ahead.
Helping also push him to victory was the age-group National Record he set on day one of qualifying with a 622.2. Cap does earn National Junior Team status for his result. West Virginia University Rifle Team freshman Will Anti (Colorado Springs, Colorado) finished third overall. University of Nevada freshman Mitchell Van Patten (Nampa, Idaho) finished first in the Finals to finish fourth overall. Army West Point freshman Brewer (Walla Walla, Washington) finished fifth followed by Kentucky sophomore Billy Azzinaro (East Brunswick, New Jersey). The eventual J2 (ages 15-17) gold medalist Casper Schadler (Vancouver, Washington) finished seventh while Daniel Enger (Walla Walla, Washington) rounded out the top eight.
“I have worked towards winning the National Junior Olympics for four years now and I'm really happy that all of the hard work has finally paid off,” Shaner said following his victory in Air Rifle. “As a member of the National Junior Team, USA Shooting and the coaches have been so supportive in working with me. I am just really thankful for the opportunity to compete, my coaches, and am very grateful for all the volunteers who have helped make this a great event!”
Medalists in the J2 (ages 15-17) division included champion Schadler, silver medalist Wynn Lekhavanija (Ellicott City, Maryland) and bronze medalist Ryan Habeck (Ft. Pierre, South Dakota). Scott Rockett (Cary, North Carolina) was the champion in the J3 (ages 14 and younger) division followed by Tyler Hanson (Waycross, Georgia) and Wesley Patton (Delta Junction, Alaska).
Brewer was dominant in the Three-Position event wrapping up the gold medal before the Final had even begun behind the two best qualifying scores. He had an insurmountable 10-point advantage over Van Patten, but that didn’t stop him from coming from behind to seal it all with a nice win in the Finals as well. The Finals would decide second and third place overall. Van Patten’s fifth-place finish in the Final would secure him a one-point advantage over Azzinaro. Cap was fourth overall followed by Shaner in fifth while Ohio State sophomore Drew Cheezum (Centerville, Maryland) was sixth. Anti finished seventh while 2015 NJOSC champion Jacob Buchanan (Spring, Texas) rounds out the top eight.
“I came last year just for Air – didn’t do too well, didn’t do too badly – but then I went to West Point to shoot rifle and I’ve been shooting a lot of smallbore,” Brewer said. “That’s just helped me rise so dramatically and I guess today was the showcase for that! They’re pretty strict on everything and developing that mental fortitude so all of that has just made my game that much better.”
Shaner’s fifth-place performance overall was good enough to earn him top honors in the J2 category followed by Schadler and Peter Fiori (Lebanon, New Jersey). Picking up his second crown in the J3 division was Rockett with Kyle Kutz (Darien, Connecticut) and Matt Sanchez (Kissimmee, Florida) earning silver and bronze.
Though Brewer would finish second overall in the Men’s Prone Rifle event, he would win the event Final with an impressive 209.0 – that’s just 2.2 points shy of the Open Finals World Record. Shaner may have finished second in the event Final, but he entered it with a 3.6 lead on Brewer to edge him out for the overall title in Prone and his second overall gold medal of the match. Quintin Wotring (Kingsport, Tennessee) won the bronze medal. Austin Fletcher (Ormond Beach, Florida) won the J2 category and Sanchez won win the J3 category.
Shaner, Brewer and Cap were the only three athletes earning entrance into all three event Finals.
For full results, click here.
This year’s participants hail from 48 different states and were whittled down from 2,435 total competitors at our state level. The Lone Star state of Texas gets the distinction with 51 competitors set to participate, followed by California (48), Georgia (44), Pennsylvania (42) and Colorado (37).
The top-two athletes in Three-Position and Air Rifle earn a spot on USA Shooting’s National Junior Team for 2016. Van Patten was named to the National Junior Team with his silver-medal finish in Men’s Three-Position Rifle.
2016 NJOSC Schedule:
- April 16-17 – Women’s Three-Position Rifle
- April 18-19 – Women’s Air Rifle
- April 22 – Men’s Sport Pistol
- April 23 – Women’s Sport Pistol
- April 24-25 – Men’s & Women’s Air Pistol
Click here beginning Saturday for Live target scoring for Women’s Rifle.
Look for the Women’s Rifle event preview from USA Shooting on Thursday.
About USA Shooting:
USA Shooting, a 501c3 non-profit corporation, was chartered by the United States Olympic Committee as the National Governing Body for the sport of shooting in April 1995. USA Shooting’s mission is to prepare American athletes to win Olympic medals, promote the shooting sports throughout the U.S. and govern the conduct of international shooting in the country.