When you think of the term "sponsored competitive shooter," the image you may get is of a rugged old workhorse who's forgotten more about shooting techniques than the rest of us will ever learn. However, if you've been keeping up with NRA Family's reporting, that mental image may already be changing as you meet shooters like Julie Golob, Jessie Duff, Tori Nonaka, Katie Harris, Molly Smith, Janae Sarabia and others. Now Team Springfield is joining the club of stereotype shatterers by adding preteen sisters Justine and Jalise Williams to their lineup of factory shooters.
Jalise, who's 12 years old, is an honors student in language and math. Says Jalise (who pronounces her name jay-leese), "I am totally committed to the shooting sports, and I plan to make history. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but I will one day."
Her younger sister Justine, who is 11, eschews video games in favor of reading books...and, of course, shooting. Enthuses Justine, "Shooting is epic. It is the best thing that ever happened to me!"
The girls' parents concur. Say the Williamses, "People often ask how we get them to do it, but this is what they chose. As parents, we could have influenced them to choose another sport or not supported this choice, but they have always loved to shoot."
The young competitors' first competition as part of the Springfield team was the United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA) Area 2 Championships in Mesa, Arizona, last week. They compete with Springfield XD(M) 5.25-inch 9mm pistols, a fact that drew the attention of long-time Team Springfield professional shooter Rob Leatham. "While both are very talented, that is not unique," says Leatham. "There is no shortage of shooting talent out there. What really caught my attention was how they conducted themselves at the range. The combination of such high levels of character, devotion, personality and talent is very rare today."
Congratulations, Justine and Jalise! We look forward to hearing more about your successes.