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Two Bemidji boys ready for national pistol competition

Dalton Petersen and Grant Johnson of Bemidji will be in Colorado Springs, Colo. this week for the Junior Olympic National Championship pistol shooting competition.

The shooters will compete in the air pistol division Wednesday and Thursday and on Friday they will be among the .22-caliber sport pistol shooters.

Coached by Mike Porter, Johnson is making his second trip to the Junior Olympics in pistols while Petersen will compete for the first time.

Johnson also has qualified for the trip to Colorado Springs in the air rifle division on two occasions.

The goal of the two shooters will be to advance to the tournament finals in both events. Johnson and Petersen are among 60 shooters who qualified for the air pistol tournament and the top eight will gain the championship round.

The sport pistol competition will feature 30 shooters.

In air pistol, Johnson believes that if he shoots his average (535 points out of a possible 600) he could be among the championship qualifiers.

"The top eight also qualify for the Junior Development Team," Johnson said. "I really think it's possible for me to qualify for the finals, especially in air pistol."

The air pistol competition features 60 shots from 10-meter distances on Wednesday and 60 more on Thursday. After comparing scores the eight best shooters will advance to the final and fire 10 more rounds.

Friday's sport pistol competitors will fire 30 shots with a slow draw and 30 more in rapid succession. Once again, the eight best shooters will make the finals and fire 10 more shots.

Petersen has been shooting competitively since sixth grade, and the senior is looking forward to nationals.

"I like competition," he said. "This is my first time at the nationals and I really don't know what to expect but I think I'll do well."

Johnson is a veteran of the competition and the high school junior's goal is simply to shoot his best.

"This can be an overwhelming experience," Johnson said. "I definitely want to have a good day on the range. I've been more focused this year and I think that has made me a better shooter.

"In order to do well (at nationals) you must focus on what you are doing and forget about everybody else. Each target is a new opportunity to score."

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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