There's a rhythm and cadence to Double Trap. Hank Garvey matched it perfectly while dancing his way to the shotgun discipline title at the 2016 National Junior Olympic Championships being held at USA Shooting's International Shooting Park just outside Colorado Springs, CO.
The 17-year-old dancin' Double Trap shooter marched his way to his first Junior Olympic medal, reaching a goal that took five years to complete after coming to Colorado Springs to compete nationally for the first time as a 12-year-old in 2011. He did so by being first in qualification, shooting a 131/150, and then not giving anything back in a perfect dance through a semifinal round and then in his match-up with Jacob Hochhausler (Tampa, FL). A perfect 60/60 in those two rounds left no doubt as to the class of the field on this day and reconfirmed Garvey's National Junior Team status.
Above: 2016 National Junior Olympic Champion Hank Garvey eyes a pair of targets on his way to his first Junior Olympic medal.
You could see this moment coming after the recent U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Tillar, AK, where he earned a spot in both Finals, beating Olympian Jeff Holguin for a bronze in one and settling for silver in a match-up against Derek Haldeman in the other. Garvey (Newburyport, MA) was the high junior during the two-part Olympic Team Trials.
Watching Garvey on the line, you would swear he was at a concert or nightclub. The way he moves on the line before and after every shot runs contrary to the stoic, concentrated position seen by most of his competitors. The music is in his head, usually from a song he listens to before dismantling the 30 targets in front of him every round.
“My routine is getting a random song stuck in my head, it's like elevator music for me. Instead of focusing on my breathing and focusing on what I shouldn't be focusing on, I just get a song in my head and don't think about anything other than the song."
Before today's Final, the song was One Dance by Drake. Prior to his gold-medal match, he went old school, striking up the 1981 classic Start Me Up by Rolling Stones.
Whatever the method, it’s working and now he'll try in lock-in on more hardware next month during the 2016 USA Shooting National Championships.
Hochhausler earns National Junior Team status as a result of his second-place finish. Earning a spot on the USA Shooting's Junior Olympic Squad was bronze medalist Tyler Taylor (Wickenburg, AZ), after defeating Tyler Deyo (Johnstown, OH) in the bronze-medal final. 2015 Junior National Champion Dale Royer (Jackson, MT) was fifth followed by Gunner Hall (Circleville, OH). Hall would finish as the J2 (ages 15-17) gold medalist while Kael Richmond (Ankeny, IA) was the J3 (ages 14 and younger) champion.
Friday also saw the first 75 targets in Men's and Women's Skeet. Nic Moschetti (Broomfield, CO) and Garrett Coles (Fannin, TX) are atop the men's leaderboard at 71/75. Five other competitors sit just one back. After shooting the only perfect round to close things out Friday, Sydney Carson (North Liberty, IN) goes into Saturday with a one-day lead over Katie Jacob (Rochester, MI).
Competitors qualified for an invitation to the NJOSC with top scores in their respective State Junior Olympic Championships. The competitors range in age from 10 to 20 years old, and are classified according to age as J1 (ages 18-20), J2 (ages 15-17) or J3 (ages 14 and younger).
Athletes earned their way to Junior Olympics by qualifying through state qualifying matches with 21 states conducting competition for 515 participants. Shooters from 31 states are represented at this year's Junior Olympics. The Lone Star State is well-represented with 23 athletes participating from Texas.
Trey Wright and Katie Jacob claimed top honors in Men's and Women's Skeet.
"It was stressful honestly," Wright said. "It feels great to have it all done. I was just thinking mainly that I want to come out of this top three or top two! It's pretty awesome though. I've been working so hard.” Wright (17, Albany, GA) shot not only a perfect 16/16 targets in the Semifinal match, but an additional perfect 16 targets as well to claim the gold medal during an often windy competition. He'd have to shoot that level of perfection to edge out Nic Moschetti (Broomfield, CO), who would go on to claim the silver medal. Moschetti, who led after the first day of competition, also shot a perfect 16 targets in the Semifinal, but dropped just one target in the gold-medal match. Elijah Ellis (College Station, TX) would win the bronze medal.
Jacob (16, Rochester, MI) entered the second and final day of competition three targets back from 2015 World Championships Junior silver medalist Sydney Carson (North Liberty, IN). She would even finish the Semifinal match in second place to Carson. Once in the gold-medal match, however, Jacob would defeat Carson 14-11 targets to claim the gold medal. Sam Simonton (Gainesville, GA) won bronze.
Jacob has had quite the successful season, finishing in third place at Fall Selection, earning a bronze medal at the International Shooting Sport Federation World Cup in Nicosia, Cyprus, earning an appointment to the National Team, as well as winning the Junior World Cup in Suhl, Germany.
"It feels amazing," Jacob said. "I'm just so grateful to be able to compete with all these other amazing women and men. It's always a joy to be able to come up for Junior Olympics. You can't take it for granted just because it's a Junior event. There are girls here that compete at the same level as Open shooters. The U.S. definitely has the best women shooters. You can't take any shoot you have for granted."
Athletes competing in this match qualified for an invitation to the NJOSC with top scores in their respective State Junior Olympic Championships. They earned their way to Junior Olympics by qualifying through state qualifying matches with 21 states conducting competition for 515 participants. The competitors range in age from 10 to 20 years old, and are classified according to age as J1 (ages 18-20), J2 (ages 15-17) or J3 (ages 14 and younger). Shooters from 31 states were represented at this year's Junior Olympics.
All photos by USA Shooting.