Tabernacle 7th grade girl has early success in competitive shooting

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While the majority of 12-year-old girls are off shopping and listening to One Direction, Emily Cutts uses her spare time to shoot her rifle.

Along with being a seventh grader at Kenneth R. Olson Middle School, a member of the school chorus and a cheerleader, Emily is a competitive shooter.

She got involved with the sport about three years ago when she would watch YouTube videos of competitions. Emily liked what she saw and has gradually progressed from an amateur shooter to one who enters competitions.

“I just got tired of shooting holes through paper and wanted to move on to something more exciting,” Emily said.

She first completed a National Rifle Association Junior Marksmanship Program, where she placed second in a class of 23 while also being the second youngest in the class.

During a conversation with their neighbor, Emily’s parents spoke about her interest in the sport and the neighbor was able to get her in contact with Dan Roberts who then invited her to try out for Static Steel Competition Shooting.

It is a style of competitive shooting that consists of five stages in which the competitor shoots five times per stage in an attempt to hit the five targets on each stage, all while going against the clock.

Emily doesn’t let the fact that this is not a popular sport in her age group deter her from enjoying it.

“It’s not yet a kids sport because not a lot of kids are doing it and getting involved, but I don’t feel like I am being put to the side,” Emily said. “All of us are treated as equal no matter who we are.”

“We are so proud of Emily and how she has taken this sport to the next level. She has learned what true discipline and safety is and at the same time always remembers that school comes first,” her mother Lorie said.

Much to her mother’s chagrin, she also does not let her passion for the sport deter her from doing well in the classroom.

Emily is on the honor roll and had perfect attendance in the 2014–2015 school year.

In a cutthroat competitive sport, Emily said winning or getting a trophy is not what fuels her; just getting the opportunity to shoot and having a good time is what she loves most about the experience.

However, the humble shooter has only been on the competitive side of things for three months and has already captured a second-place award in the Women’s Division of the 2015 New Jersey State National Shooting Sports Foundation Rimfire Challenge.

“Winning second in the women’s division was awesome!” Emily said.

She was shocked to hear her name called with the winners after witnessing the level of talent she had gone against.

“When Emily took second place in the New Jersey State NSSF Rimfire Challenge, Women’s Division we couldn’t have been more proud. What a great way to start and prove that she has what it takes to shoot with the best,” Cutts said.

This event was Emily’s first-ever statewide competitive match.

She continues to hone her craft as she typically shoots about three times a month.

Emily plans on staying involved with the sport and strives to one day receive a scholarship for her skills and potentially get a shot to go to the Olympics.