BLACKFOOT — Blackfoot native Marianna Molinari will leave bright and early this morning for a 9 hour road trip to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Molinari, a Blackfoot High School graduate will join approximately 600 other Olympic hopefuls in the Junior Olympics.
Molinari will be competing in the air rifle competition where her and her coach believe that she has a great shot at progressing into the finals.
"It really depends upon how much practice she has put in," coach Randy Shikashio said. "I really think that she has a shot at making it into the top eight."
Molinari will arrive in Colorado Springs and immediately proceed to equipment check and then will participate in a practice match in the evening.
On Thursday, the competition will commence as each shooter will endure a grueling first day. Top score possible for the day will be 400 and Molinari has set a goal to shoot near that.
"I shot a 381 to qualify for the junior olympics and I am excited about going," Molinari said. "My goal is to shoot a 390 and if I can do that I think that I can make it into the top eight and that would be awesome."
On Friday, each competitor will shoot in match two of the competition, again with a top score of 400 possible. The top eight shooters will then return Friday evening for the finals.
"These are like the top shooters from across the nation," Molinari said. "In each state you had to shoot at least a 380 to get here so there are some really good shooters who will be there."
Molinari is more than prepared for the ordeal however, as she has put in the practice necessary to compete with the best and perhaps be the best when the shootings done.
"I got sick a while back so I had to scale back my practice time but over the last few weeks I have been feeling a lot better so I have been able to increase my efforts on the range," Molinari said.
Practice can be hard to come by in Molinari's busy schedule as she attends college and works a part time job in addition to the practice time required to become the top flight shooter that she has become.
"I think that I will have a bit easier of a time because I have been there and shot on that range before," Molinari said. "I know what to expect and I think that I am ready. I'm just really excited."