Greenville shooter earns ‘opportunity of a lifetime’

By Bruce Bentley • Last Updated 9:19 am on Thursday, May 24, 2012

Greenville senior Joe Larsen shoots at a recent event for the Flat River Conservation Club.

GREENVILLE — It’s going to be a busy couple of weeks for Greenville High School senior Joe Larsen.

Aside from graduation on June 3, Larsen was selected to train with the USA Shooting team at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Larsen is a skeet shooter and a member of the Flat River Conservation Club. He will train with the Olympic coaching staff beginning today through Sunday.

A skilled shooter, Larsen earned the opportunity because of his high scores from the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) National Team Championships last July in Sparta, Illinois. He was one of nine shooters selected to participate.

“I received an email and was selected because of my scores from the SCTP Nationals last year,” Larsen said. “I get the opportunity to learn from some of the best coaches. I definitely wanted to go.”

Larsen was caught off guard by the the invitation.

“I was really excited for the opportunity,” Larsen said. “I was stunned that I was selected. I’m happy to be selected, but more honored than anything.”

Larsen began shooting when he was eight years-old. At the time he said he wasn’t very good.

“My brother started shooting and invited me out one time,” Larsen said. “I wasn’t very good, but I kept doing it. Eventually, I got to a point where I wanted to continue to do it.”

Now, Larsen practices three to four times a week at the Flat River Conservation Club. He competes all around the state in SCTP events at least once a month.

Larsen was selected to train at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. He will be there for four days.

The SCTP has three divisions of competition: the rookie division (5th grade and below), intermediate division (grades 6-8) and varsity division (grades 9-12).

Larsen competes in the varsity division and is on a three-man team that includes Erik Deiters (Greenville) and Elliott Christensen (Lakeview). They recently earned a gold medal during an SCTP event at the Genesee Sportsman Club.

While in Colorado, Larsen is hoping to learn a few tips on the mental aspect of shooting.

“I want to learn how to improve on the mental part of the game,” Larsen said. “Most shooters can break every bird, but some can’t deal with the mind set of staying focused the entire time.”

This is also an opportunity for Larsen to make the U.S. National Development Team.

“If they like me enough I would have that chance,” Larsen said. “That would be a chance to work on Olympic shooting. Then I think you have a chance to compete to get on the U.S. Olympic shooting team.”

No matter what happens the next four days, it will be an experience Larsen won’t ever forget.

“It will be a great experience,” he said. “To me this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to do this.”

Larsen will compete at the SCTP National Team Championships in Sparta, Illinois in July.

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