Two hundred of America's finest Junior Shotgun Athletes are headed to Colorado Springs this month to take part in the 2013 National Junior Olympic Shooting Championships (NJOSC), June 15-21. Action gets underway Saturday with Men's and Women's Trap events.
While known to showcase the future of the sport, the NJOSC also will provide a strong glimpse of the present as several top contenders have aligned themselves among the nation's best overall in their respective disciplines in the past year.
Junior athletes like Ashley Carroll (Solvang, Calif.), Kimberley Bowers (Lafayette, Calif.), Brandy Drozd (Byran, Texas), Dania Vizzi (Odessa, Fla.), T.J. Bayer (College Station, Texas) and Hayden Stewart (Columbia, Tenn.) all have been a part of either the Fall or Spring Selection Open Final since last year's Junior Olympic Championships. In fact, Carroll won both selection matches, while Drozd climbed to the top during Spring Selection. Bayer earned a silver and bronze medal at both matches while Bowers was the runner-up to Carroll during Fall Selection.
In Women's Trap, the recent High School graduate Carroll has exuded her confidence and is the front-runner for the Junior Olympic title particularly now that four-time champion Miranda Wilder (Diana, Texas) has exited the JO ranks. Carroll will be using this competition as a training opportunity for her upcoming World Cup trip to Granada, Spain, after beating two-time Olympian and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Corey Cogdell (Eagle River, Alaska) during the Spring Selection Match. She'll be pushed by a confident Bowers who recently finished with a silver medal during an elite junior competition in Suhl, Germany. Amanda Culwell (Rosebud, Ark.) and Kassidee Dunford (Mountain Green, Utah) were among the six Junior Finalists at Spring Selection and could make a run at the title as well.
Competition in Men's Trap is wide open given the departure of several top juniors to the senior ranks. Those likely to contend include Brad Beckmann (Chesterfield, Mo.), Austin Odom (Benton, Ark.), Ian Dupre (Champion, Pa.), Alex Rennert (Surfside, Fla.), Tyler Lirio (Coolidge, Ga.) and Max Milan (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.). All have been a part of the junior finals in one of the two Selection Matches while Beckmann and Odom secured World Championship team spots based on their showing in Spring Selection. Beckman also recently bested all trap shooters at the Perazzi Grand Prix at the Keystone Shooting Park in Elizabethville, Pa.
Athletes finishing in the top-two of the NJOSC in each discipline receive automatic nomination to USA Shooting's National Junior Team.
The event preview for Double Trap will be released in the Trap recap press release issued on Sunday while the Skeet preview will be provided in the Double trap recap press release on Tuesday.