Wa-Hi senior Sarah Jameson competes at the Junior Olympic Air Rifle National Championship last week. Jameson finished 58th at the competition.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Walla Walla High senior Sarah Jameson competed in the Junior Olympic Air Rifle National Championship for the second time last week, finishing in 58th place, at the Olympic Training Center here.
“Making it to this match two out of the last three years is a big deal,” said Wa-Hi Rifle Team coach Mark Mebes. “To get here, you have to be the individual state champion in your age class. No one gets here by accident. And you are competing against shooters up to 22 years of age. In most cases that means NCAA collegiate athletes.”
Jameson qualified for the match when she was a sophomore as well.
“It was so much different this time,” she said. “When I went in 2012, I didn’t know anyone because I was relatively new to the sport. This year, it felt almost like a reunion of all the good shooters I have competed against for the last four years.”
Some other things have changed since Jameson last traveled to the Olympic Training Center.
“For these matches, the scoring is different now,” said Mebes. “Shots are scored by decimals now. So, if you shoot a 10.5, your score is higher than someone who shoots a 10.2. They used to score any 10 as a 10. Now, if you are shooting ‘deeper’ 10s, your score will be higher.”
Jameson’s finish was about the middle of the pack.
“If you consider all of the college shooters here, that is a respectable finish,” Mebes said. “This was a great experience for Sarah since she will be shooting against most of these shooters in college next season.”
“I really feel like I am ready,” Jameson, who signed earlier this year to shoot for the University of Nevada next season, said. “This week, we shot against the best college athletes, used college scoring, and I still held my own. I got to meet several other athletes who either already shoot for Nevada or have signed with them, like I did. I feel that I am going to a great team.”
Aside from shooting on the Olympic Rifle Range, part of the Junior Olympic program allows visiting athletes to stay in the Olympic dorms and eat in the Olympic dining facility.
“That is one of the best parts of being invited to this match,” Jameson said. “You are sitting there eating your lunch and in walks the U.S. swimming team, or a bunch of Olympic weight lifters. You kind of get a sense of what it would be like to represent your country on the international stage. It is at the same time uplifting and humbling.”
Jameson now is training with Wa-Hi’s rifle team for the National 3 Position Rifle Championship match, held in Camp Perry, Ohio, from June 27-28.