USA Shooting juniors return stateside with 21 medals, including four new Junior World Champions from Junior World Championships in Lima, Peru held September 28-October 9, 2021. 47 juniors competed in 30 events bringing home 12 rifle medals, six shotgun medals and three pistol medals, resulting in the second highest country medal count only behind India. The field included over 400 athletes and 30 different countries.
Eight different athletes won 12 rifle medals in all five Olympic events, further showcasing the depth of the U.S. rifle program that has seen a resurgence in the past Olympic cycle. Will Shaner won gold once again in the 10m Air Rifle Men’s event. The Tokyo Olympic Champion added his first Junior World Champion title to his name to kick things off for Team USA. Teammate Rylan Kissell took bronze in the same event at his Junior World Championship debut. Other standout rifle medalists include freshman rifle athlete at University of Alaska Fairbanks, Gavin Barnick, who won bronze in the 50m 3 Position Rifle Men’s event and another bronze in the 50m 3 Position Rifle Men’s Team event with fellow NCAA teammate Kissell, and Braden Peiser. Another silver was won by the men’s rifle team of Shaner, Kissell and John Blanton in the 10m Team Air event.
Tokyo Olympic Silver Medalist, Mary Tucker, battled in a shoot-off in the 10m Air Rifle Women’s event finals with Oceanne Muller from France which landed her a well-fought for silver. Tucker would go on to win a whopping five additional medals at Junior World Championships including silver in 50m Prone Rifle Women, bronze in 50m 3 Position Rifle Women, gold in 10m Mixed Team Air Rifle with fellow University of Kentucky teammate, Shaner, bronze in 50m Prone Mixed Team Rifle with training partner, Barnick, and finally a bronze in 50m 3 Position Team Rifle Women with Molly McGhin and Katie Zaun. McGhin, the sophomore at West Virginia University, would team up with Peiser in the 50m Prone Mixed Rifle event to capture the silver medal for Team USA.
Pistol saw their fair share of excitement at the Junior World Championships with Tokyo Olympian and Ohio State athlete, Henry Leverett, departing Lima as a new Junior World Champion in the Men’s Rapid Fire event. The Men’s Air Pistol team consisting of 2021 Junior Olympic Champion, Remington Smith, Hunter Battig, and Wes Anderson won Air Pistol Team Men’s bronze in a thrilling final in a true display of teamwork. Katelyn Abeln, another Ohio State University Pistol athlete, qualified for the finals in the 25m Sport Pistol Women’s event where she finished 7th place overall. Abeln, Ada Korkhin, and Abbie Leverett (younger sister of Leverett) won silver in the 25m Precision and Rapid-Fire Pistol Team Women. Abeln also teamed up with Suman Sanghera, and Annabell Yi resulting in a 4th place finish in the Air Pistol Team Women.
The depth of the U.S. shotgun team was on full display as they won six medals and crowned two new Junior World Champions in Lima. Alishia Fayth Layne captured the Junior World Champion title in the Skeet Women’s event in a nail-biting final. Teammate Elijah Ellis immediately followed her feat with a Junior World Championship title of his own when he took first place in the Men’s Skeet event with Jordan Sapp winning silver. The Men’s Skeet Team of Sapp, Ellis, and Ben Keller won silver in an exciting and emotionally charged final against the men’s Italian team. Reigning National Champion, Ryann Phillips clinched silver in the Women’s Trap event, and the team of Faith Pendergrass, Sydney Krieger, and Bethany High won gold in the Women’s Trap Team event.
Full results and live stream replays can be found on the ISSF website (https://www.issf-sports.org/competitions/venue/results.ashx?cshipid=2992).