McGhin wins gold at Junior Olympic Championships

Gold and Blue Nation

West Virginia University rifle freshmen Molly McGhin and Matt Sanchez advanced to the final round of the 2021 National Junior Olympic Championship, from May 12-16, at the Margot V. Biermann Center, in Hillsdale, Michigan. 

The Griffin, Georgia native, McGhin was named the 2021 National Junior Olympic Championships women’s air rifle champion with her score of 250.1. On day one, McGhin shot a 623, along with a 624.9 on day two. Her total score of 1247.9 was good for third place overall and helped her advance to the finals.

McGhin also advanced to the smallbore finals with a two-day total of 1173. In the final round, she finished third overall with a 448.6 mark.

Sanchez, a native of Tampa, Florida, opened up the competition with his third place, 1169 smallbore score to advance to the men’s smallbore finals. He took home bronze with a score of 443.4 after winning a shot out.

“This was a good week for Molly, Matt, Calista and Becca,” said Coach Jon Hammond. “They all gained great experience and had some successful results as well. It has been a long college season this year, but this was an important match to compete against the top juniors in the country, and all four athletes competed well.”

Both McGhin and Sanchez qualified for the National Futures Team with their top-three finishes. They will be joined by sophomore Calista Smoyer who recently qualified for the team.

“Molly’s performance stands out with four solid matches and two really good finals resulting in two medals, and winning the air rifle event,” said Hammond. “I was also really pleased to see Matt get on the podium after two good days of smallbore.

“Molly and Matt will qualify for the National Futures team with their top-three finishes and hopefully that will open up some international experiences for them as well.”

Additionally, West Virginia University Rifle signee, Natalie Perrin, participated in both the smallbore (434.8) and air rifle (164.4) finals placing fourth and sixth, respectively.

Smoyer, along with freshman Becca Lamb also competed in this weekend’s competition. Smoyer took ninth place in the women’s air rifle event with a 1241.7 total, while Lamb placed 19th in the women’s air rifle competition with a total score of 1236.1 and 11th (1160) in the women’s smallbore competition.

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