By Lars Dalseide | March 1 2011 18:17

The Daily News Journal out of Murfreesboro, Tennessee puts the spotlight on 16-year-old Distinguished Expert Olivia Zocco, who we featured earlier this year:

Teen right on target

We might think high school girls have hobbies that typically include shopping, hanging out at their friends' houses and spending hours on the phone.

But, for 16-year-old Olivia Zocco of Rockvale, her hobbies include outdoor firing ranges, gun safety and the National Rifle Association. In January 2010, Zocco began working to earn a Distinguished Expert rating in the handgun category through the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program. It took her less than a year to achieve this goal.

"The Distinguished Expert rating is the highest level of achievement in the program that consists of seven levels," explained Zocco. "The first six levels in the course are based on the honor system as to whether or not the shooter met the requirement to move up in the program. However, for the Distinguished Expert rating, the actual shooting and scoring must be witnessed by an NRA instructor with a current ID number."

Zocco had to go through the eight-hour gun safety class that included hands-on instruction at the shooting range. This is the same class required by the state of Tennessee to obtain a permit to carry a weapon. The next six levels have various requirements necessary to jump to the next level, and each level has a different course of fire that must be achieved to obtain the raking for that level.

"Each course of fire has a certain amount of rounds that are to be fired in a certain time, with a certain calculated score using various hand positions," said Zocco.

To obtain the rank of Sharpshooter, Zocco had to fire five rounds with both her left and right hands within a 20-second time frame. After all 10 rounds were on the target, a score had to be calculated. For that course of fire, Zocco had to acquire 10 targets.

 

Read the rest of the The Daily News Journal article here.

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