More Than Just Her Name

Her name is more than a coincidence. Grace Sharp is one of Joshua’s sharpest shooters in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program. She has only been shooting since her freshman year, and yet, all of her coaches can only praise her for her natural talent. She is respectful, kind, and can hit a target precisely from a distance of 10 meters. Due to her successful shooting season, Sharp was invited to compete at the National Junior Olympics on April 17 – 18.

Sixteen year-old Sharp, flew to Colorado Springs, Colorado and prepared to compete against the top 200 shooters in the nation. The event was held at the United States Olympic Training Center. On the first day, the students had an opportunity to warm-up and practice. Each opponent competed in their age range, but once the first day was over, they were ranked by score. Each competitor has 90 minutes to shoot 60 shots. They can take as many breaks they need and take their time, as long as they complete the 60 shots within the time given.

“It was really nerve racking, but the way they had it set up and everything, it was actually pretty relaxed,” Sharp said.

The environment is an important part of any competition. The way one prepares at the actual event can make or break you. Sharp revealed that this competition was set up much differently than other ones she has competed in before. Previous competitions were typically set up by competing in age range. However, this competition was set up to determine who was number one in the nation. The stakes of this match naturally felt higher than any other tournament she had been in. Nonetheless, she kept her calm and performed as well as ever.

“There are different techniques that everyone uses but, it’s kind of one of those things where I exaggerated my process,” Sharp said. “It sounds dumb, but they have us imagine ourselves somewhere where you’re relaxed.”

Sharp spent three hours everyday, for weeks, preparing for this major competition. She has a specific technique that she has spent time perfecting. During these weeks leading up to her performance she and Lt. Colonel Davidson made sure her technique was perfected and embedded in her memory.  

“Overall, I feel like I did pretty good,” Sharp said. “There were about 200 people or so.”

The age range varied from high school students to students in college. Sharp ended up placing in the middle. Her results are incredibly impressive given her age. She is only 16 years old and competing in a highly recognized national competition. Only the very best students out of the United States were invited to compete and Sharp was one of them.

Sharp plans to continue shooting for the ROTC rifle team throughout high school. Next year, Sharp is to return to the National Junior Olympics. With an entire year to prepare herself, her skills can only improve. We expect nothing less than the best from such a driven and talented young lady.