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U.S. Army Junior Air Rifle Championships

By Brad Donoho, CMP Program Manager

On 8-11 August 2007, many of the country’s best junior air rifle shooters gathered at Fort Benning, Georgia for the first annual U.S. Army Junior Air Rifle Championship. The Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU) hosted the event at its Pool Range Complex.

Earlier this year close to 2,000 junior shooters competed in a State Championship postal match that was sponsored by the U. S. Army and administered by the CMP. The postal match determined individual and team state winners as well as which sporter and precision teams could compete in the second phase of the Army competition, a shoulder-to-shoulder National Championship held at Fort Benning. In the qualification round sporter shooters shot a 3x10 course of fire, while precision shooters fired a 40 shot standing match. The top ten teams from both disciplines were invited to compete for prestigious individual and team titles.

The Army International Rifle Team held an advanced clinic for the junior athletes and their coaches.

To kick off the Fort Benning event, the junior athletes and their coaches participated in an advanced clinic put on by the AMU’s renowned International Rifle Team. Participants gathered at Fort Benning”s Infantry Museum for classroom instruction followed by hands-on instruction on the range. Olympic silver medalist Maj Michael Anti, World Championship gold medalist SFC Jason Parker and Olympian LTC Robert Harbison were among the distinguished AMU instructors who taught and coached during the clinic.

With their newly acquired knowledge, the junior shooters were prepared for the two-day competition that lay ahead of them. In the sporter class, competitors fired a 3x20 match each day followed by a 10-shot final for the top eight shooters. In the precision class, shooters fired a 40-shot standing match also followed by a 10-shot final for the top eight individuals each day. After day one of competition, Nebraska native Michaela Jochum from the Homestead 4-H Shooting Club was atop the sporter leader board with a qualifying score of 561. Jochum shot a 86.4 in the final giving her a combined score of 647.4. Fifteen-year-old Emily Holsopple of Wilcox, Pennsylvania, led the precision category. Holsopple fired a 390 followed by a 100.4 in the final for a total of 490.4.

The leader board for the sporter team competition featured R.L. Paschal HS JROTC in the lead after day one with a score of 2141. DuBois Junior Rifle Team out of Pennsylvania took the early lead in the precision category with a team score of 1538.

Michaela Jochum won the Sporter Individual gold medal with a score of 1208.9.

With the first day under their belts, the shooters returned for the second and final day of competition. The results for day two would prove to be just as impressive as the day before. Once again Michaela Jochum topped the sporter leader board with a 560 in qualification and an 89.5 in the final giving her a 649.5. Combined with her first day of competition she would go on to win the individual gold medal in the sporter category with a combined score of 1208.9.

Emily Holsopple of the DuBois Junior Rifle Team, PA, won the Precision Individual gold medal with a score of 985.8.

Building on her impressive day one showing, Emily Holsopple sat atop the precision leader board once again by leading all competitors with a qualifying score of 394 out of a possible 400. She also went on to shoot the high final of the day tallying a 101.4, giving her a combined score of 495.4. Added to her day one total, she won the individual gold medal for the precision category with a score of 985.8. Sarah Broeker, who competed for the Southeast Nebraska Shooting Sports Club, was second with a 873.6 total, while Holsopple’s teammate Michael Kulbacki from DuBois, Pennsylvania was third with a 872.5 total.

General Bostick awards the R.L. Paschal HS Army JROTC Team with the Overal Sporter Team Championship Trophy and a Daisy 888 sporter rifle, donated by Daisy Outdoor Products.

R.L. Paschal High School Army JROTC from Fort Worth, Texas built on their day one lead and won the sporter team competition with a team score of 4311. Team members were, Daniel Hilario, Dean Harmon, Amanda Aguilera, and Xentri Garza. R.L. Paschal is coached by retired LTC Terry LeBoeuf. Homestead 4-H Shooting Sports was the second place sporter team with a 4277 total.




The DuBois Junior Rifle Team from Pennsylvania was the Overall Precision Team and was awarded the Precision Team Trophy and a Walther LG300 Junior precision air rifle, donated by the CMP.

Lead by Emily Holsopple, the DuBois Junior Rifle Team went on to win the precision team category with a score of 3078. Firing alongside Holsopple were teammates Michael Kulbacki, Justin Pentz and Aaron Holsopple. The DuBois Junior Rifle Team is coached by Mark Holsopple. The Southeast Nebraska Shooting Sports team was second in the precision category with a 3038 total.

The competition was capped off by a formal awards ceremony on the last night at the Iron Works Convention Center in downtown Columbus, Georgia. There the shooters got a chance to get to know their instructors even better as they dined alongside an AMU shooter. The banquet featured a special guest speaker from the United States Army Accessions Command. U.S. Army Recruitment Commanding General, Major General Thomas Bostick spoke to the shooters about what he experienced as he witnessed his first air rifle competition. General Bostick said he was extremely impressed by the shooters motivation and striving for perfection. “I was amazed to find out that you are aiming for a target no bigger than the period at the end of this sentence,” said Bostick.

The evening banquet wrapped up with the presentation of the individual and team awards. The winning sporter team was presented with a Daisy 888 sporter rifle, donated by Daisy Outdoor Products, along with the team champion trophy. The DuBois Junior Rifle team was presented with a Walther LG300 Junior precision air rifle, donated by the CMP, as well as the first place team trophy.

Spc. Michael D. McPhail instructs two juniors during the open practice at the 2007 U.S. Army Junior Air Rifle Championship.  Junior competitors took advantage of the clinic and hands-on instruction from the U.S. Army International Rifle team members.

Overall, the match featured an informative clinic provided by some of the best shooters in the world, followed by a competition fired by some of the best junior shooters in the country. “I think the match was excellent,” said AMU Director of Competitions Michael Behnke. “I really believe the kids enjoyed themselves. The banquet was truly first class. We are having our staff meeting soon and we look to build upon what already seems to be a wonderful match.” Mr. Behnke went on to add they would post the match program for next years championship very soon.

Complete scores from this event can be found on the CMP website at, Photos from the event can be found at