Wisconsin’s first USA Shooting Junior Olympic Championships came to a close last Sunday afternoon, marking the beginning of a new chapter in Wisconsin shooting sports. Thirty young athletes aged 20 and under, including 23 males and seven ladies, traveled from four states — one all the way from New Mexico — to be part of the inaugural event.
The event was run concurrently with SCTP’s Wisconsin State International Championships. In addition, on Saturday there were 250 athletes from throughout the Midwest who competed in the 100-target SCTP Midwest High School Regional tournament on the American trap fields. Results of the SCTP awards for both tournaments can be found on the SCTP website under “Results.”
On Saturday afternoon, there was a grand opening celebration and ribbon cutting for the new Olympic bunker. Nearly 400 people were in attendance for the grand opening, including WTA, NRA, SCTP, and DNR representatives. Outdoor Wisconsin TV host Dan Small and his crew filmed the event for a future show.
The young athletes shot a series of five qualifying rounds totaling 125 targets over two days in the same format that is used every four years in the Olympics. The weather conditions were less than ideal though most of the weekend, with high winds, rain, and eventually lightning that stopped the event for an hour on Saturday afternoon. High winds made Sunday morning’s rounds very challenging. These conditions made the course even more difficult for the Olympic hopefuls.After the qualifications were complete, the top six male and female shooters continued to the finals, where they shot additional targets to determine the final medal winners.
Myles Walker of Elkhorn took home the men’s gold medal after the two-day event. Other finalists included Jordan Hintz and Christian Jensen of Burlington, Jack Schuppie and Josh Nelson of Richfield, and Aaren Weinke of Baraboo. Hintz took second place silver, and Jensen won the bronze over Schuppie in a shoot-off to end the event.For the ladies, Meredith Berneau of Waterford won the gold ahead of Abby Rosenau of Ripon and her sister Madelynn. Other finalists were Mariah Kerr from Burlington and Alexandria Zigelbauer of Iron Ridge.
Non-resident medals, gold through bronze, went to Oscar Southbloom of Minnesota, Anna Pfaff of Illinois, and Kes Luchini of New Mexico, respectively.
All 30 athletes who competed in this event now have the opportunity to compete at the USA Shooting Junior Olympic Championships set for July 8-13 in Colorado Springs, CO, where they will contend for positions on the USAS Junior team and the opportunity to potentially represent the U.S. in international competition.
The weekend started off with a coach, parent, and adult fundraising event Friday afternoon on the Olympic bunker. The “50 for $50.00” fundraiser was won by Bruce Nelson of the Daniel Boone Conservation League, and the proceeds will sponsor a Wisconsin SCTP Athlete to attend an SCTP Junior Olympic Development Camp in Colorado Springs in August. Thank you to Kolar Arms, Gunbroker.com, Tom Wondrash, Bob Palmer, and the SCTP for their donations.
The world-class International-Style Olympic Bunker featuring 15 trap machines in one 60-foot long trench controlled by an automated computer system was made possible with generous grants from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Pittman-Robertson Fund and the National Rifle Association (NRA). This bunker is the first of its kind in the state.
The 280-acre WTA Shooting and Learning Complex in Nekoosa, WI includes American Trap and Olympic-style trapshooting, as well as a premier campground. The new Homegrounds RV Park should be open by mid-June and features 104 pull-through sites with full hook-up.