At this weekend's National Defense Match at Camp Perry, one young man gained more than just experience at his first rifle match - he took home top honors. 14 year-old Colton Cerino from Wadsworth, Ohio won first place in the Optics Category, no small for feat for competing with a rifle for the very first time. Shooting a FNH SCAR, Colton was able to best seasoned shooters, including his own father, Chris Cerino. Chris was the runner-up on Season 1 of The History Channel's Top Shot, falling short only to his friend, the original Top Shot Iain Harrison, in the Open Category. Both Chris and Colton competed together at the 2011 Bianchi Cup, but for Colton, Camp Perry was his time to shine.
"Everyone noticed him and came up to talk to him, which was really cool," said Chris of Colton, who had trained with his father for just three days before shooting the National Defense Match. "If you're going to lose to anyone, you might as well lose to your own son. We're very proud of him."
In addition to Colton, three other juniors shot the match including fellow 14 year-old competitors Remington Judd, Phoenix Hutchins, and Duncan Stewart. All four young men came to the match to compete with a family member, reinforcing the idea that competitive shooting can be a family activity.
Like Colton, Duncan competed alongside his father, Zeb Stewart, who was also a Range Officer. Remington shot the match with his older brother, Nathan, and Phoenix competed with his grandfather, Dick Jones.
"I designed the match after shooting with my sons," Match Director Trey Tuggle told the competitors. "It's something that everyone can do, from beginners to people who have been competing for years."
We'll have more photos, videos, and recap of competitors from the National Defense Match over the next week, so keep checking back!