COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Two students from the Walla Walla High School JROTC Rifle Team received invitations to the Junior Olympic Air Rifle National Championship the first weekend in April.
This event is hosted by the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, and is one of the most exclusive junior air rifle events in the United States, Wa-Hi coach Mark Mebes said.
It is limited to individuals who qualify as champions in sanctioned state matches earlier in the season.
Blue Devil Cadet Major Daniel Enger and Cadet Sergeant Brock Betzler both qualified for the match this year from Washington State in men’s air rifle event.
Additionally, Enger received an invitation for the men’s smallbore rifle event as Washington State Men’s smallbore rifle champion.
The air rifle event consisted of two days of shooting that included 60 record shots, all from the offhand position at a 10-meter target. To score a 10, competitors’ shot must touch a pin-hole sized dot in the center of a target roughly the size of a 50-cent piece. If the 10-ring is hit, the closer the dot is to the center of the shot, the higher the value of the 10 up to a maximum value of 10.9 for a perfect shot.
At the Olympic Training Center, shots are scored to one decimal point, so a normal 100-point target actually carries a total possible value of 109. The junior class athletes may compete until the age of 22, which means this competition included college shooters.
“This is the only event during the year where our high-school athletes have the chance to compete against college-age shooters” said Mebes. “There is no team event here, so only individuals can qualify.”
On the first day of competition, Enger came off the firing line with a 603.9, and improved his performance with a 607.0 on day two that pushed him into 23rd place.
Betzler finished the two day match with a combined two-day score of 1,147.8 finishing in 164th place.
“This was a great experience for me again this year,” said Betzler after the first day. “My hope is to make it back again next season and improve my scores and placement.”
“Both of these shooters have performed exceedingly well against this field,” said Mebes. “Many of the shooters that shot ahead of them are college freshmen and sophomores in NCAA programs. That says a lot for a high school shooter.”
Enger’s finish marks him as the first shooter in Wa-Hi history to qualify as a four-time Junior Olympian.
Logan Ogden from New York won the Men’s Air Rifle event.
In Men’s 3-Position Smallbore Rifle, Enger scored a 2,238 putting him in 28th place.
He then shot a 1,211.4 in the Men’s 50-meter Prone event, which put him in 32nd place for that event.
Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 20 Mar 2017