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November 2019
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Jessi Griffin takes silver in Jr. Olympics skeet

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                               PHS student Jessi Griffin, ladies silver medalist 2019 team trials Junior Division.

 

       Kerrville, Texas was the first of two Olympic trials of grueling competition to select the U.S. Olympic team for the 2020 Olympics to be held in Tokyo, Japan. Jessi Griffin, a Pickens County High School student, proved her metal against many of the nation’s top competitive shooters in international skeet, taking the silver medal for ladies Junior Olympic shooters. 

The event draws competitors from just about every state in the U.S. whether they are Olympic medalists, world champions or junior Olympic hopefuls they all flock to the selection trials. USA Shooting hosts quite an event for both ladies and men, dividing them into the Open Division and the Junior Olympic Division. Competitors are allowed a couple days to get used to the fields and then shoot 250 rounds of competition over four days in an attempt to make the top six for the final shootout. The final shootout is a whole new competition of 60 rounds that selects three of the six finalists for gold, silver or bronze

The wind was blowing and the sun was hot but Griffin managed to hang tough and qualify for the top six final in the Ladies Junior Division 15 to 20-year-olds.   Shooting mainly against ladies that were already on the US Junior Team, she went to the lead for the first 20 of 60 targets and that eliminates one shooter, and one additional shooter is eliminated for each 10 more targets. Griffin was able to hang tough in the second spot through the rest of the final, winning her the silver medal.  Jessi’s scores are the stuff most of us shooters can only dream of.

Jessi trains at the Pickens County Sportsman’s Club (PCSC) where she has spent countless hours of practice in all kinds of weather, shooting thousands of practice rounds.  She spent the previous year (and then some) competing at statewide and national competitions. 

Texas was a tough competition against a very tough group of ladies who all want to win. Her dad, Steve Griffin, says when he saw that wind pick up with the flags standing straight out he knew it was fixing to get tough.  

Jessi and her dad say she would never be where she is without the PCSC and a lot of other folks supporting her. He would like to not only thank the PCSC but the Pickens County School System for working with her to meet her training and travel requirements. Her teachers and counselors have been great and a special thanks to Principal Chris Wallace and Dr. Carlton Wilson for always being there for her. 

Her sense of toughness, organization, work ethic and dedication to the goal she sets for herself requires countless trips to the range, hours upon hours of practice plus she must maintain her scholastic requirements as well. The example she sets puts the bar high up – from here there is only one direction to go – for the gold. All those positive traits she attributes to the discipline required that comes from the shooting sports. 

Mental toughness, organization, work ethic and patience all come from shooting and competing so teach a kid to shoot.