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2008 4-H Shooting Sports National Championship

On June 23, 2008 the New York State 4-H Shooting Sports program made history by sending their first official competitors to the 2008 National 4-H Shooting Sports Championship in Grand Island, Nebraska.  New York was represented by 4 kids from two counties in the Air Rifle competition:  Stephen Jensen and Peter Mercincavage from Broome County, and Rick Reynolds and Katelynn Decker from Chemung County.  The National Air Rifle Team coach for New York State was Robert Jensen, Lead Firearms Instructor for Broome County, and Chairman for the New York State 4-H State Championship.

On June 24th, our team competed in the 3-position event in the Heartland Events Center.  Competition was very tough, especially for two of our members who had never competed prior to the first New York State Championship held on March 1st.  But, they all managed to hold their own by earning 6th place for the team.

On June 25th, competition resumed in the Heartland Events Center with the Standing competition.  If the event itself wasn’t hard enough, it was even more grueling do to the fact that someone forgot to turn the air conditioning on that morning.  By the time our kids shot, they were already ringing with sweat.  But, they did a great job by coming in 9th place overall.

June 26th turned out to be the hardest day of the event.  The Silhouette competition was held outdoors, under a searing Sun.  Competition air rifles are not designed for outdoor use, let alone shooting long distances in the heat of direct sunlight.  Even the compressed air rifles could not handle the intense heat, and shooters could not count on any accuracy from their rifles.  The only consolation was that everyone had to suffer from the bad conditions (although those who shot later in the day had even worse conditions to shoot in), and any target hit was pure luck.  Even so, our kids managed to pull off a 4th place in the Silhouette event.    

Individually, Stephen Jensen placed 14th, Peter Mercincavage placed 34th, Rick Reynolds placed 36th, and Katelynn Decker placed 45th overall.  There were 51 competitors in the Air Rifle event representing 11 states.  As a Team, the kids ranked 5th place overall.

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Download a copy of this report in pdf here.

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