By Brittany Nelson, USAS Public Relations & Communications Manager
COLO SPRGS, CO (April 18, 2023) – Victoria Leppert, of Fairfax Station, Virginia, earned the title of 2023 Junior Olympic Champion in Women’s Air Rifle and Braden Peiser, of San Angelo, Texas, earned the title of 2023 Junior Olympic Champion in Men’s Air Rifle, on April 15, at the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center.
Leppert earned her gold medal in the finals after beating Camryn Camp, of Hillsboro, Texas, who placed second, and Rachael Charles, of Urbandale, Iowa, who placed third.
“I was really excited when I realized I had won. My face said it all,” said Leppert. “I didn’t realize I had won until I heard my teammates cheering for me.”
This was Leppert’s first time competing in a final at a national level match.
“I am good at going head-to-head with athletes, so I knew as long as I had fun with it and I wasn’t too serious about it I would do fine,” said Leppert, an athlete for the U.S. Air Force Academy’s rifle team.
Peiser placed first over Tyler Wee, of Wake Forest, North Carolina, who finished second, and Parker Haydin, of Joshua, Texas, who placed third.
“It felt really good to win especially because I went into the match knowing I was capable of it,” said Peiser, Men’s Air Rifle Champion.
This was Peiser’s first time making the finals at a Junior Olympic Championships.
“While I was shooting I just tried to not thing about the final itself,” said Peiser. “I focused on the individual shots. If your mind is wrapped around that, you can’t think about the fact you are in a final.”
Air Rifle medals were also awarded for in the following categories:
Women’s Under 18: Elizabeth Probst, gold; Mackenzie Kring, silver; Gracie Dinh, bronze.
Women’s Under 15: Hypatia Shen, gold; Natalie Welter, silver; Ella Lee, bronze.
Men’s Under 18: Griffin Lake, gold; Teagan Perkowski, silver; Dylan Gregory, bronze.
Men’s Under 15: Logan Sanchez, gold; Nikhil Surya, silver; Cohen Ahner, bronze.
The competition also decided the Men’s and Women’s Air Rifle team for the 2023 ISSF Junior World Championships in Changwon, Korea, July 14-18. The following athletes qualified:
Men’s: Braden Peiser, Tyler Wee, Parker Haydin, Gavin Barnick, and Matthew Sanchez
Women: Rachael Charles, Katie Zaun, Camryn Camp, Natalie Perrin, and Peninah D’Souza
Men’s Smallbore Rifle is the next event for the 2023 National Junior Olympic Championships.
Purchase photos of the event here: http://bit.ly/3obe2U5
View awards ceremony photos here: https://bit.ly/3H1nnVt