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Citadel News Service
30 Mar 2013

Three cadets to compete at National Junior Olympics

Pistol team wins national championship

Three Citadel cadets have received invitations to compete at the National Junior Olympic Championship at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The event, which is April 2-7, 2013, is hosted by USA Shooting, the national governing body for Olympic style shooting in the United States. They will be shooting International Air Pistol and Sport Pistol.

The invitations were issued based on the scores fired at the S.C. State Junior Olympic Championship hosted by The Citadel at the Inouye Hall Marksmanship Center last December. Sophomore Ben Moore from Fort Mill, S.C. qualified in both events with a score of 554 X 600 in air pistol and a 549 X 600 in sport pistol. He was the high resident for the state.

pistol junior olympics

Left to right: Emily Schwendinger, Ben Moore, Brittaney Maples

Freshman Emily Schwendinger of Menomonie, Wisc., qualified as an at-large shooter in air pistol by posting a 352 X 400. Brittney Maples, a sophomore from Gatlinburg, Tenn., also qualified at-large in air pistol by firing a 344 X 400.

In past years, juniors who qualify in one event often were allowed to shoot the other event up to range capacity. Therefore the ladies are training in both events in hopes they will be able to fire a second national level competition this year. They just returned from the Collegiate National Pistol Championship where they represented The Citadel in both events.

Maples and Schwendinger are also looking forward to next year when they hope to improve their performance at the college nationals as a team and individually. This was the first year The Citadel qualified a ladies' team in sport pistol and had a female cadet, senior Chelsea Marsh, make All-American.

Only the top scoring juniors are invited to the National Junior Olympic Championship in air pistol, air rifle, smallbore rifle and sport pistol. All of these are Olympic shooting events. Only 17 athletes from across the nation were invited in sport pistol this year.

The air pistol used is an expensive ($1,400 – $2,400) single shot precision pistol. It uses compressed air at 3,000 psi to shoot lead pellets of .177-caliber at a target 10 meters away. It has a black bullseye about the size of a tangerine and a ten ring the size of an aspirin tablet.

The men's air pistol course of fire is 60 record shots after firing unlimited sighting (practice) shots. There is a total time limit of one hour and 45 minutes for the 60 shots including sighters. The ladies fire 40 record shots with sighters in one hour and 15 minutes time limit.

Sport pistol is fired with an expensive ($1,800-$2,600 ) .22-caliber semi-automatic pistol with a five-shot magazine. The targets are placed at 50 feet. The slow fire target has a bulls eye about the size of a small grapefruit and a ten ring the size of a quarter. The rapid fire target is much larger being close to the size of a basketball and has a ten ring the size of a small orange. However, each shot on the rapid fire target is fired in three seconds or less starting with the pistol down at 45 degrees.

In the slow fire stage of Sport Pistol there are five sighting shots followed by 30 record shots. The shooter has five minutes or less to shoot each 5 shot series. The rapid fire stage also has five sighting shots and 30 record shots. Each five shot series is fired one shot at a time starting with the pistol aimed down at 45 degrees while waiting for the target to face.

Coaches Robert Patton of Summerville, S.C. and Joel Sexton, of Newberry, S.C. commented that they have been fortunate to have cadets qualify for the National Junior Olympics almost every year since it started in 1985. Patton attended that first championship as a freshman at The Citadel. Sexton has coached The Citadel Pistol Team for the last 40 years.

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