Shooters aim for Mainland qualifying here

HANAPEPE — Of the 16 competitors, three had specific goals in mind Saturday.

Doc Woltmon, coach for the Island School air riflery team that finished its 2005 season recently, teamed with Major Victor Aguilar, coach of the Waimea High School air riflery team, to coordinate a Hawai’i State Junior Olympic Three Position Air Rifle program at the Hanapepe Armory.

“It’s taken 10 years, but we now have our own match,” Woltmon said of the second year Kaua’i coordinated a Junior Olympic air rifle program.

Woltmon said that prior to Kaua’i’s eligibility to host the match, both he and Aguilar had to attend special classes for certification, but now that those have been taken care of, he is hopeful that Kaua’i can entertain a bid for a state match.

In addition to former Island School and Waimea shooters, the event featured several Kaua’i High School shooters, who, according to their coach Doug Nobriga, had to pay their own registration fees for the event.

“We wanted Kapa’a to enter some competitors, too,” Woltmon said. “But they aren’t ready yet.”

“Chris (Aguilar) is trying to qualify for a military academy rifle team,” Woltmon said. “And Kelli Hooser and Kelsey Ricci are both trying to see if they can qualify for the rifle team at the University of San Francisco.”

The results of the matches are submitted electronically to a central Olympic headquarters, and shooters’ results are nationally ranked. This allows the high school seniors to try to qualify for college teams without having to leave the island. The results also enable the shooters to qualify for a trip to the Olympic training center where a national match is hosted.

Woltmon said that Kaua’i has fielded several shooters at the national level with Hooser earning third-place honors when she was a sophomore, and Sheila Ramos of Waimea earning a state novice title.

The most memorable story, Woltmon said, came from a Waimea shooter in the first year Kaua’i participated.

“He made it to Red Creek in Atlanta, and had two perfect double frames,” Woltmon said. But then the realization of an army of television cameras homing in on him sank in and he just pulled the trigger, Woltmon said.

The next Junior Olympic Air Rifle event will probably be the Junior Sectionals which will be held some time in the spring, Woltmon said.

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