Rachael Dodson shot 69 points higher than she did in 2017. But is it good enough to qualify for a trip to the Junior Olympics?
The Argos, Indiana, senior participated in the Junior Olympics precision air rifle regional qualifying competition at the X-Count shooting range in Fort Wayne on Jan. 6. Her 337 out of 400 was 69 points higher than her 268 last year. But the score was not good enough for an automatic qualification, so now she must wait until the rest of the other state qualifiers are completed to see if she makes the points cut.
Dodson is in her second year of shooting for the coed Culver Academies Rifle Club. Since the Indiana qualifier was conducted over winter break, she was the only Culver team member to participate. Alex Hoover ’17, now a freshman at the University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne, won both the men’s air rifle and the small bore (.22 caliber) competitions. He qualified for the Junior Olympics in 2017 under the same cut system that Dodson is hoping for now.
The Junior Olympics are for students 20 and under. High school and college students from Michigan also attended, including members of the Michigan State shooting team.
Since being revived three years ago, the rifle club has 15 members, with eight students consistently participating in the high school matches. Culver offers the sporter and precision air rifle programs.
Competitors shoot at targets from three positions – prone, standing, and kneeling – from a distance of 10 meters (33 feet). Normally, competitors take one shot each at 10 targets from each position. For the Junior Olympics, though, competitors take all their shots from the standing position, which is considered the most difficult. Girls take 40 shots and boys take 60. After the qualifier, participants – boys and girls – will be required to take 60 shots. There is also a time limit on taking the shots.
There are approximately 35 colleges that offer scholarships for competitive shooting, including many with ROTC programs and the service academies. Dodson, who also shoots skeet and trap, has received nominations for the United States Military Academy from Indiana Sen. Todd Young and Rep. Jackie Walorski (2nd District, Indiana). Walorski also nominated Dodson for the United States Naval Academy.