Young shooting ace wins in Florida
Jonathan ‘JJ’ Ralston, who outshot seniors far exceeding his years at the Krieghoff Classics in Florida over the weekend to win the D Class five-stand 100-target event, said he learned that size and age do not matter in competition as long as you can overcome your fears and focus on the task at hand.
The 14-year-old shot 76 to take event over fellow Jamaican Wendy McMaster (70), who he also defeated in a shoot-off for third place in the preliminaries. He finished fourth overall, after losing in another shoot-off with McMaster.
Ralston admitted that his performance was a bit surprising.
“It doesn’t matter how big the people are once you can overcome your fears and get into your focus and you can do it. I think I surprised myself with the performance. My uncle and I were talking about the course, and we both said it was hard. In the five-stand I was beating him in the first two of the four stages, but he came back strong and shot an 80,and I shot a 76. So I think I surprised everyone in that,” he told The Gleaner.
However, in the shoot-off for third place in the preliminaries, JJ admitted that he was a little tense going up against veteran local female shooter, McMaster.
“I had a shoot-off for third place in the preliminaries against one of my close shooting partners from Jamaica, Wendy McMaster. I felt a little nervous, but I won third place. It was a very good experience as I got the opportunity to represent my country and family,” he said.
He added that he is looking for an even better year than the reasonably good one he had last season.
JJ’s father, John Ralston, said that his son performed above expectations and that he was really impressed with how well he competed with adults far above his age.
“He exceeded our expectation. The class was extremely competitive. In the five-stand, he won outright, and in the preliminary event he won the shoot-off for third place. He ended with a first, a third and a fourth. It is a massive boost to his confidence, as the targets in Florida were abnormally hard and he was shooting against adults, so for him to come out with that type of result, he is very confident going into the next shoot, and the more experience you get, the better you get, and we believe he is going in the right direction, and with the attitude he has, I believe the sky is the limit,” he said.