COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (June 29, 2018)

The last day of the National Junior Olympic Shooting Championships (NJOSC) for Shotgun went out with a bag – or maybe more of a puff – as the last clays were thrown, and this year’s Skeet champions were crowned at the International Shooting Park on Fort Carson.

More than 225 young shotgun athletes from across the country made their way to Colorado Springs to compete in Trap and Skeet for NJOSC medals, glory and potential invitations to the National Junior Team throughout the week.

In the Skeet competition, it was a nail-biter right to the end in the Women’s and Men’s events as the gold and silver were decided in both Finals by one target (as well as by a score of 54 to 53 targets). Sam Simonton (Gainesville, Georgia) was the top finisher in Qualification for the Women’s event with 121/125 targets – six targets ahead of her closest competitor. Once in the Final, however, it would come down to the wire in breezy conditions with Simonton’s World Championship teammate Austen Smith (Keller, Texas) narrowly edging out Simonton for the gold. Last year’s NJOSC champion, Jacenta Jacob (Rochester, Michigan), won the bronze.

“This match was crazy!” Smith said. “There was a lot of wind and I didn’t shoot exactly what I wanted to, but it worked out in the end. On the last shot I was shaking like crazy.”

The story on the Men’s side was sort of familiar with the top finisher in Qualification, Eli Christman (Hixson, Tennessee), dueling it out in the last 10 targets in the Final with his training partner, Nic Moschetti (Broomfield, Colorado) for NJOSC supremacy.

“It’s been quite the whirlwind, literally,”

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