Junior Olympic Hopefuls Compete at Hillsdale College

HILLSDALE, Mich. — Hillsdale College hosted over 400 Junior Olympic Air Rifle athletes from May 11-15. Shooters ages 12-20 competed in two shooting events in Hillsdale College’s Margot V. Biermann Athletic Center. The top shooters will earn spots on the Junior National Rifle team.

“Hillsdale College was proud to host the USA Shooting Junior Olympic Rifle National Championship for the second year in a row,” said Andrew Traciak, Hillsdale College rifle and pistol coach. “These athletes are the future of international rifle competition in the United States. Most are also prospective college students, and we hope to see many return to Hillsdale College in that capacity as both student-athletes in our rifle program and future leaders in their chosen academic fields of study.”

The championship is the largest annual international-style competition in the country for junior (under 21) shooters and highlights the strength of the partnership between Hillsdale College and USA Shooting. Some junior shooters will go on to represent the U.S. in World Cup, World Championship, Olympic, and Paralympic competitive events.

Junior shooters were housed on campus and received campus and Halter Center tours.

The two events competed in are: 50-foot smallbore, where competitors shoot from the kneeling, prone, and standing positions with a .22 rifle; and 10-meter Standing Air Rifle. Both are a direct reflection of the Olympic Air Rifle event and are scored within decimals of a millimeter. Several junior athletes with physical limitations also competed in Paralympic categories, in which the shooters utilized specially-designed equipment to shoot modified versions of Standing and Prone Air Rifle matches.

This year’s champions are as follows:

  • Men’s Smallbore Junior Olympic Rifle: Matt Sanchez, Derek Keiser, and Rylan Kissell
  • Women’s Smallbore Junior Olympic Rifle: Cecelia Ossi, Lauren Hurley, and Natalie Perrin
  • Men’s Junior Olympic Rifle: Scott Rockett, Gavin Perkowski, and Rylan Kissell
  • Women’s Junior Olympic Rifle: Kristen Derting, Lauren Hurley, and Clarissa Layland

The next scheduled shooting sports events at the John A. Halter Shooting Sports Education Center include two Junior World camps, the Michigan Junior Olympic Shotgun Championship, and a community high-school clay target league championship. Learn more at

View photos from the event here. Find all shooting results here.

For a high-resolution copy of the Hillsdale College clocktower logo, click here.

About Hillsdale College

Hillsdale College is an independent, nonsectarian, Christian liberal arts college located in southern Michigan. Founded in 1844, the College has built a national reputation through its classical liberal arts core curriculum and its principled refusal to accept federal or state taxpayer subsidies, even indirectly in the form of student grants or loans. It also conducts an outreach effort promoting civil and religious liberty, including a free monthly speech digest, Imprimis, with a circulation of more than 6.3 million. For more information, visit



Emily Stack Davis | 517-803-3745 |