In Anniston, Alabama, the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) organized and hosted a triad of three national championships for junior shooters who compete in the discipline of three position air rifle. For years the NRA and USA Shooting have sponsored separate 3p air rifle championships. This year the CMP decided to host its first annual 3p air rifle championships and invited the NRA and USA Shooting to host its championships at the same time. This gave the Ohio Rifle and Pistol Association (ORPA) team three separate chances to go for the Gold. Made up of some of the best junior shooting athletes from across Ohio, the ORPA team is no stranger to standing on the podium and dauning gold medals. The ORPA team has been fortunate to win the national title on numerous occaions. And this year was no exception.
The first of the three championships was the NRA Championship. Continuing its record of excellence, the ORPA junior 3p air rifle team has yet again brought home the coveted NRA National Championship. However, the race to the top was close. Out of the possible 2,400 team points, team ORPA posted a 2,329 which was 5 points ahead of Frazier Simplex PA team (2,324). With every one of the 60 shots fired by each team member being worth 10 points, a 5-point difference in the team score is about as close as it gets.
For the USA National Junior Olympic championship fired on Day 2 of the marathon of matches, team ORPA maintained the pace by again posting an excellent score of 2,328, which was within one point of the previous day. However the Washington state team turned up the heat and just eked ahead of Ohio by two points. This gave the win to Washington (2,330) closely followed by Ohio (2,328) in second place.
Michael Steinel, of Lowell, finished second in the nation at the recent CMP National Three-Position Air Rifle Championships.
The last day of the triad of championships was the inaugural Civilian Marksmanship Program National Championship. Ohio was on fire posting a three day high score of 2,334 out of the possible 2,400. But the talented team from Pennsylvania, Frazier Simplex, took the gold with a well earned 2,339. Again, Ohio landed in the second slot.
All in all, out of the three days of shooting in three separate national championships, the Great Trail Musketeers representing the State of Ohio and the Ohio Rifle and Pistol Association finished as the No. 2 team in the nation twice and captured one national championship.
Individually, the Ohio hotshot for these matches and team MVP has to be Michael Steinel from Lowell. For the USA Shooting National Championship, Steinel was No. 6 in the nation; for the NRA National Championship, Steinel was No. 4 in the nation; and for the CMP National Championship, Steinel was No. 2 in the nation.
At the end of each day, the top eight individuals were invited to fire in the finals which consist of 10 more shots fired from the standing position with each shot timed at 45 seconds. Steinel made the finals each day and kept working his way up the standings culminating with an outstanding performance on the last day putting him in the silver medal slot. Only two-tenths of a point out of first.
"I am pleased with my performance, but I am happier about how we did as a team," said Steinel.
The ORPA coach was Chuck Miller, and representing ORPA was: Michael Steinel of Lowell, Michael Geiscke of New Carlisle, Jordan Harper of Strongsville, and Alan (Ruger) Miller of Minerva.