Do you want to be inspired? Want to know what "kids these days" are doing? Check out
this week's feature article, compliments of the Civilian Marksmanship Program. Recently,
over 200 youth airgun shooters from JROTC programs across the country gathered for the 2018
JROTC National Air Rifle Championship. Here's what went down.
During the Day 2 finals, Taylor Gibson fired a new Army JROTC National Record score of 699.9.
Gibson Reclaims Title, Sets National Record at 2018 JROTC National Air Rifle Championship
By: Ashley Brugnone, CMP Writer
CAMP PERRY, Ohio – Taylor Gibson, 17, of the North Salem Vikings Army JROTC from Oregon,
returned to the JROTC Three-Position Air Rifle National Championship with an abundance of aspirations
in her mind – ready to defend the precision title she earned at last year’s event
and to give a repeat of her record-setting performance.
Gibson and over 200 other juniors competed at the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s (CMP) Gary
Anderson Competition Center at Camp Perry, March 22-24. The championship is the completion of
a series of three-position air rifle events that begins in October and combines the talents of
junior athletes from around the country with two days of competition and finals.
Taylor Gibson claimed the overall precision competition win for the second consecutive year.
Last year, Gibson fired a new Army JROTC National Record 3x20 score of 597-48x. This year, she
came only one center-shot away from tying that score on the last day of qualifying competition.
With only the finals left to fire in her 2018 showing, she set her sights on a new goal –
an overall score of 700 for the day.
After starting out a little shaky in the final with two “9” shots, she picked herself
up and fired seven straight pellets through the black – ending just shy of her goal with
a score of 699.9.
“I was really striving to get that 700,” she said. “It was still really exciting
and still super fun – but I was so close!”
“Next year, I’ll do it,” she added.
Her overall two-day aggregate score of 1293.1 was enough to blow passed her peers by more than
10 points and give her the championship title for the second year in a row. The win was the satisfying
end result of a year full of self-discipline, both physically and mentally, and keeping herself
set to an objective she was sure she could reach with concentration and determination.
“I wanted to do the same thing I did last year,” she said. “I wanted to have
two consecutive years of winning, so I was really focused – really trying hard to stay
where I was from last year. I didn’t want to give up my title.”
After earning the runner-up position in 2015 (as an eighth-grader) and 2016, Gibson finally claimed
the championship title in 2017. Next year, she’ll return as a senior, looking to maintain
that title for the third straight year.
Winning the 2018 sporter individual competition was Emma Thompson, 17, of Freeport High School
Navy JROTC from Illinois. A senior, Thompson was primed to win the event after suffering a bad
cold at last year’s JROTC Nationals and landing just short of victory in the second place
Granbury High School from Texas came out on top of the precision team match.
This year, Thompson secured a comfortable lead early in the competition and maintained her confidence
throughout – claiming the championship title by a margin of more than 20 points above her
“I just tried to make it fun, make it strong – I came back prepared,” she added.
“I finished pretty well, in my average, and that’s all I can ask for my senior year.
So, I think it went really well.”