FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The first gold medal given at the 2016 Olympics in Rio was to an American in the women’s air rifle event. A group of teenagers is looking to follow in those footsteps by qualifying for the Junior Olympics in precision rifle.
A regional qualifying competition was held in Fort Wayne Saturday. It was the only qualifying competition in the state so high school and some college rifle shooters from all over Indiana and even Michigan shot at Fort Wayne’s XCount.
“I think I have a pretty decent chance of qualifying,” XCount rifle shooter David Boller said “So we’ll just go out there and see.”The state winner will automatically qualify for the Junior Olympics, but a lot of the shooters still have a chance.
“There’s also certain scores you can reach that are very competitive, and if you reach those they are called an AQ or automatic qualifier,” XCount Vice President Diane Rice said.
Xcount is the home spot for a few high school rifle teams, but area teens can also compete on the Xcount team like Carroll High School student David Boller.
“Shooting is a very mental sport,” Boller said. “It takes a lot of focus and self drive. You get what you put out like in a lot of things.”
Rice agrees.These rifle events take skill, but that’s not what is going to make a shooter win.
“They have to have that mental focus, they have to be calm, they have to keep that heart rate low,” Rice said.
Boller grew up shooting with his family, and hopes to continue in college and beyond.
“Shooting is a sport you can do your whole life,” Boller said. “There are Olympians in their 50s.”
The Junior Olympics will be in April. For more on the Xcount click here.