BLACKFOOT — The nations best shooters descended upon the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs over the weekend of December 3-6. Among them was Blackfoot High School graduate Marianna Molinari, a rising star in the shooting ranks.
Molinari, shooting in the rifle event, spent three stressful days competing against the toughest competition that the nation had too offer, including current Olympic team members, just a little of a step up in competition for the talented Molinari.
"This was a lot more pressure which made it a lot harder than usual," Molinari said. "I think that I could have done much better though."
Molinari, who normally shoots in the 380's on her home range wasn't that far off of her best scores however, shooting 377 out of 400 on each of the first two days of competition before shooting a 367 out of 400 on the events final day.
Those scores were good enough to place Molinari 25th out of 60 competitors, for a top half finish in one of the biggest events of the year.
"I wasn't very happy with the third day," Molinari said. "It was really fun though."
Too prepare for the event, Molinari practiced up to 3 hours a day, four days a week leading up to the competition, no small feat for a young lady who is carrying a full schedule at Idaho State University.
"I tried to practice as much as I could around my school schedule," Molinari said.
Molinari will now prepare for the junior olympics which will be held in April, again at Colorado Springs. To qualify for the event, Molinari will need to crack the 380 point barrier in her next competition, which will be held on January 14th.
"At home I usually shoot 380's and up so hopefully I will be able to qualify for the Junior Olympics," Molinari said.
If Decembers event is any indication, Molinari will have no trouble balancing her hectic schedule and then qualify for Aprils event and who knows, if all goes well, Molinari may be on the big stage in London England in 2012, representing Idaho and the United States in the Olympics. She has already proven that she can compete at that level.