Nature of the sport appeals to Cameron University Student Holly Humphreys York is taking careful aim at her future. The Cameron University junior for Altus will compete at the National Junior Olympic Shooting Championship at the U.S. Olympic Shooting Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, April 3-8. She qualified for the championship after winning a shooting competition at Rosenberg, Texas, in January. York competes in the women's 3 by 20 three-position small bore rifle category. You shoot three positions-prone, standing and kneeling-20 shots in each. You shoot at a distance of 50 feet with a .22 (caliber rifle), York said. She added each competitor fires a total of 120 rounds in an event, 60 shots in two separate matches. If York places first or second in the championship, she could earn a berth on the Junior Olympic shooting team or the national development shooting team, both of which are overseen by USA Shooting, the governing body for all shooting sports in America, up to and including the U.S. Olympic shooting team. York hopes to eventually compete in a U.S. Olympic tryout and have a chance to represent the United States in the 2012 Olympic Games. York started competing in shooting events as a little girl, under the tutelage of her father, who owns a gun shop in Del Rio, Texas. He was on the 4-H team. I've been shooting down there since I was around 7 or 8 years old. York started competing in USA Shooting and National Rifle Association sponsored events when she reach high school. York said she chose riflery because she enjoys the sport's exacting nature. There's so much you can do with a rifle, with the equipment she said. There are other sports where all you need is a gun and go out and shoot. I just like the preciseness of it. Accessories are an important part of serious rifle competition. York fires an Anschutz Model 1907 single-shot .22 caliber rifle. The German-made gun is a masterwork of precision. It's made for position, York said. There are a whole bunch of adjustments and stuff on it you can make just to specifically tailor it to your body. The weapon cost about $3,000 in its factory form. Since purchasing the gun, York has made about $2,000 in modifications, including replacing the barrel and adding sights. Like other competition shooters, York also wars special clothing when she shoots at an event, including canvas pants and jacket and special boot. Basically, the point of all the equipment is to stabilize you. To make you as still as possible, she said. But the best
equipment in the world won't help if a shooter isn't prepared for competition. I feel like I'm pretty good under pressure, York said about her strengths as a shooter. A lot of competitors can shoot really well in practice, really well in their comfort zone, and on once you get to a match, you just completely lose it. And I feel I'm pretty good. She is preparing for April's championship by practicing in the Cameron University shooting range, in the basement of Burch Hall. Right now, she is only shooting once or twice a week, but plans to start practicing daily closer to the competition. York also hopes to upgrade some of her equipment so. York has help preparing for the championship from CU's shooting sport's director, James Helvey. He's giving her pointers and making sure she gets the opportunity to practice at the shooting range. When asked what York needs to do in order to win the championship, he joked, what she needs to do is shoot more 10's (bullseyes). But added he has confidence in York's exceptional shooting talents. I'm always teasing her and getting on to her about it, he said. She's an excellent shooter and knows what she's doing. And like I said, I like to be hard on her and push her, and give her the good, tough critiques. But she's very capable. Helvey said riflery is a psychological sport to a large degree. The thing I've been talking to about, a lot of concentration, more the mental aspect. She's got all the physical. She knows what she's doing. She's got the equipment. It's just like anything else, there's a certain level of psychology involved. The mental aspects. And we've been talking more about mental training. Because it's an intense moment when they get you out on that firing line and you've got other shooters up and down the line. And you've got a certain amount of time, Helvey said. The concentration-you can get tired, you can get fatigued. The gun's heavy. So we try to work on more of the ambitious. let's go, let's squeeze that trigger, let's concentrate-shoot those 10x's.
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