By Kyle Jillson | January 4 2013 16:46

Taking to historic firing lines on Lake Erie's coast for a National Championship

CPT Christopher Abalo wins the 2012 NRA Smallbore Rifle Prone Championship at Camp Perry, Ohio

The battle for this year's Critchfield Trophy at the NRA Smallbore Prone Championships was a hot one - they usually are. It was also extremely close as Captain Christopher Abalo, in his third and final time competing, bested Reya Kempley and finally walked away with the overall NRA title.

This was my fourth year attending the matches at Camp Perry and my appreciation of the skill every shooter exhibits only grows each time. Featuring such a wide range of ages, every shooter is enthusiastic about their sport and it makes for such a great environment to be in.

CPT Abalo had previously finished third and second in 2011 and 2010 respectively, so it seemed fitting he would flush out his podium appearances in his third year. It was a hard-fought win though as Kempley, the accomplished shooter herself, put up quite the performance of her own.

The Smallbore Prone Championships are comprised of a Metallic Sight Championship and Any Sight Championship. Opening with Metallic, Abalo took first with a three point lead over Kempley, whose brother had just won the overall Smallbore Position Championships a day earlier. Only half way done and never willing to give up, Kempley gave Abalo a run for his money during Any Sight although she would ultimately come up short.

Anyone who has been to the National Matches at Camp Perry will tell you there's nothing like it and it's absolutely the case. If you're there, you'll get caught up in the excitement and there's nowhere else you'd rather be.

Take a full look at Camp Perry's NRA Smallbore Prone Championships.

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