A Shelburne teen, Lynden Prior, travelled to Colorado last month to take part in the 2009 Rifle-Pistol National Junior Olympic Championships. The 14-year-old Shelburne Community School student is an accomplised precision off-hand shooter.
More than 300 of the nation's best junior rifle and pistol shooters gathered at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, April 3-19, to compete for National Junior Olympic titles.
To participate in the annual championships, athletes must shoot in their state Junior Olympic Championships and either win the match or shoot above a certain score to be invited to the competition.
National Junior Olympic Championship titles were awarded to the top open, J2 and J3 athletes in each event.
Prior began learning the unique firearms skill in 2006 as a member of the Burlington Rifle and Pistol Club. His coach, Bill Thomas, helped prepare Prior for the 2008 Vermont State Championship that took place in December. Prior spent two days at the Colorado Olympic Training facility with other members of the Vermont shooting team.
During the April event, Prior had an opportunity to meet with two-time Olympic shooting gold-medalist Lones Wigger. After talking about the sport, Wigger, a former U.S. military officer, helped fit Prior with special shooting earplugs.
Despite a strong showing, Prior did not finish in the medal category. Following the Men's 50m 3 Position Rifle event, Andy Lamson of Colchester, Vt., placed third in the nation with a score of 2386.1.