Wolford’s Own Hannah Walsh Excels at Junior Olympic Pistol Championship
Wolford Shooting Club Athlete Hannah Walsh, a junior at Wolford High School, made her second trip to the National Junior Olympic Pistol Championships (NJOPC) in Colorado Springs, Co this past April. Hannah participated in the Women’s Sport Pistol and Air Pistol events that took place at the Olympic Training Center (OTC) Shooting Complex. Not only were the Sport Pistol events first on the agenda, it was Hannah’s first experience shooting this event at 25 meters on electronic targets. When Hannah competed at state the qualification matches are generally fired on reduced size turning targets similar to local ranges. Hannah, showing a cool confidence adapted quickly to the new range conditions in one practice round, and fired a 265/300 in the precision stage of the match and a 233/400 in the rapid fire stage. Giving Hannah a match total of 498/500, a personal best that placed her 14th overall in the 24 competitor field and in 6th place in the J2 age classification.
The next day at the first match of the two day women’s air pistol championship, Hannah used her experience from last year’s NJOPC and the Winter Air Gun Championship at the OTC in December firing a personal best score of 363/400. This first round performance placed her 8th overall in the 58 competitor field and 3rd in the J2 classification. Her day two match score of 352/400 gave Hannah a two day aggregate of 715/800 placing her in a three-way tie for 9th place overall and 3rd in J2. After the tie breaker rule was applied, Hannah’s center shot count moved her to 11th overall and 5th in the J2 classification.
This feat was quite remarkable being it was only Hannah’s second year at the National Junior Olympic Pistol Championship. Hannah was only five center shots away from a bronze medal in J2 age classification, and only a mere 11 points kept Hannah out of competing in the top eight finals match. Hannah’s top ten finish should put the Wolford Wolves Shooting Club athletes on the map in the National Junior Olympic Rifle & Pistol Championships community, where she hopes to return next year.
When Hannah was asked what it meant to her being a shooter shooter athlete Hannah shared that, “Being a shooting athlete is really an amazing experience. I have accomplished more than I ever thought I could in this sport. Being a shooting athlete requires you to understand the true meaning of self-discipline, determination, sportsmanship, and to never give up.
Hannah also talked about what it takes to be a good shooter, ” To be a good shooter, it takes persistence, trust in yourself and your training, and as I said before, sportsmanship. If you put in the hours of training, the results will show in your match scores and your confidence grows.
With so much talent and success that Hannah has achieved so far continuing in the sport is a certainty and when asked about her future aspirations her answer left know doubt, “I hope to make the Olympic Development Team as a junior. Right now, that is my biggest goal, so I need to practice and qualify again next year to attend the National Junior Olympic Pistol Championship and finish in the top eight athletes to make the finals match. Overall, I hope that I can continue to be a part of this sport, no matter what team I’m on.
William Langer, who is the Wolford Shooting team’s as well as Hannah’s coach, shared this about the sport of shooting, ” the nice thing about the shooting sports is that there is no physical attribute for an athlete that gives them an advantage, like heights for basketball or size for football. So the shooting sports are more about attitude, determination and self-discipline to practice and improve. Coach Langer then went on to share his thoughts about Hannah, I think Hannah is more surprised by her accomplishments than I am. Because as an athlete Hannah is very coachable, she listens and tries new things and sticks with them to improve her abilities. Coach Langer continued, ” Once the physical abilities are learned the shooting sports are really about trusting yourself and your practice.” Coach Langer further stated, ” Watching her practice I new she could shoot good scores, I just had to get her to believe in herself. Now I think she believes too, and that will help her reach her goals as a shooting athlete. I will defiantly have her practicing for the finals match format used in the national championships as she prepares for next year.”
As you can see that Hannah Walsh under the tutelage of Coach Langer whether on the range or in life with the attitude, determination, work ethic and humility that Hannah possesses her shot at future success will be dead center!
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