The 2023 precision and sporter winners of The American Legion Junior 3-Position Air Rifle Championships were named Saturday, July 22, in Colorado Springs, Colo.
First, the top eight sporter shooters lined up shoulder-to-shoulder on the firing line in the basement of the USA Shooting Range at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. Each competitor fired 10 shots, aiming for a perfect 10.9 score for each one with a 50-second time limit. Even with the cheering from American Legion Family members, coaches and family members, Charles Bratton of Clover, S.C., held on to his first-place position to win the sporter championship.
“Finals are always fun but also really intense. It’s a lot of relief (that it’s done) but also bittersweet because this is the last time I’ll shoot this kind of match,” said Bratton, who will be attending Harvard University this fall with hopes to become a brain surgeon. “It was a good ending. And my local (American Legion) Post 54 is awesome. I have family members that are veterans and members of The American Legion. I just think it’s a really great organization, and I love what they’re doing for the youth.”
When Gracie Dinh and Jacob Wisman walked to the firing line to compete in their first and second-place positions, Dinh had only a one-point lead over Wisman. Their scores remained close until the final shot – Wisman shot a 10.7 over Dinh’s 10.2 to take the lead and win the precision championship.
“I went in to today with some doubts since I was a point behind, but I’m happy I was able to keep calm and do what I could do,” said Wisman, 17 years old and a rising senior who hopes to shoot air rifle in college. “I want say thank you to The American Legion. This was a great opportunity, and I’m very grateful.”
Dinh is happy with her second-place finish and the growth she has experienced in air rifle since placing 15th during the 2021 American Legion Junior 3-Position Air Rifle Championship.
There was a lot of growing in the two years in-between. “(This time around) I tapered my training, I shot less and I got more ready mentally,” Dinh said. “Thank you, American Legion, for holding this. It’s always a fun match; it’s a great experience.”
As the precision and sporter champions, Wisman and Bratton will each receive a $5,000 scholarship provided by The American Legion and Sons of The American Legion. They too will receive a trip to The American Legion’s 104th National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., in August to be honored alongside other American Legion youth program champions. Bratton said he lives 45 minutes from Charlotte and is looking forward to attending the national convention and hopes to purchase a computer with the scholarship.
For their second-place finish, Dinh and sporter competitor Nathan Krokstrom of Cape Coral, Fla., will receive a $1,000 scholarship provided by The American Legion Auxiliary.
The top eight precision shooters aggregate scores:
1. 2,481.4 – Jacob Wisman of Independence, W.Va
2. 2,481.1 – Gracie Dinh of Huntsville, Ark.
3. 2,477.1 – Griffin Lake of Emmaus, Pa.
4. 2,476.6 – Caroline Martin of Nemo, Texas
5. 2,476.2 – Megan Jaros of Roseville, Minn.
6. 2,471.5 – Jack Ogoreuc of Grove City, Pa.
7. 2,470.6 – Bremen Butler of Fort Wayne, Ind.
8. 2,468.7 – Claudia Muzik of Green Springs, Ohio
The top eight sporter shooters aggregate scores:
1. 2,318.4 – Charles Bratton of Clover, S.C.
2. 2,300.1 – Nathan Krokstrom of Cape Coral, Fla.
3. 2,285.8 – Hope Dobek of Des Moines, Iowa.
4. 2,285.4 – Abril DeCastro of Fort Mill, S.C.
5. 2,276.6 – Kees Vadergriff of Fort Mill, S.C.
6. 2,261.5 – Ashley Carr of Alliance, Neb.
7. 2,259.1 – Jennifer Zermeno of Fort Mill, S.C.
8. 2,257.5 – Rylie Stoeser of Ft. Pierre, S.D.