Bucks County Herald

CB South’s Tomczak takes aim at National Junior Olympics

DAVID CAMPBELL



CB South’s Julia Tomczak focuses on the target. The sophomore was recently invited to compete in the 2017 National Junior Olympics in Colorado Springs, Colo., in April. Tomczak’s specialty is smallbore rifle.

As the Central Bucks South lacrosse and track and field teams practiced for the spring season a few feet away, sophomore Julia Tomczak stood outside the Titan Stadium fence last Thursday afternoon.

Tomczak wasn’t there with her father, Ben, to take in a practice. She was there to discuss her sport of choice, which isn’t offered by her school.

“I wasn’t into contact sports,” Tomczak admitted.

“My dad is a small game hunter to hunt pheasants, so he wanted me to get involved in it, and my parents found this local program that had archery and rifle in it. And I just started going to it and I got involved and I loved shooting – and it kind of just [grew] out of that.”

Tomczak has proven to be a quick study. Her involvement in the sport goes back only about five years. Despite that, she’s about to go national, having received an invitation on Feb. 23 to compete in the 2017 National Junior Olympics in Colorado Springs, Colo., which runs April 7 to 25. Tomczak’s event, the women’s smallbore rifle competition, is April 14 to 19.

“I’m really excited,” Tomczak beamed. “I’m just really happy. When we received the invitation, I was ecstatic.”

She’ll compete against 70 other women in the Centennial State. Tomczak punched her ticket with a strong showing at the New York qualifier at West Point. Her cumulative score, however, was entered into the Pennsylvania results.

“Patience and concentration,” Tomczak responded, when asked what makes an excellent shooter. “You definitely have to be focused and have the patience because it takes you a while to get where you want to be.”

Tomczak isn’t certain how far she wants to take her passion. It’s more than a hobby, she insisted, while noting, “Academics always come first.”

She routinely practices a minimum of two times a week for about three hours a pop at local clubs and dabbles in archery and high power rifle for fun. Indoor shooting is generally from 50 feet and 50 meters, while in outdoors, the distance from the shooter to the target can sometimes grow to 100 yards.

Tomczak has been awarded the National Rifle Association’s (NRA’s) Distinguished Expert rating, a highlight of her brief career, she said, surpassed only by her inclusion in the Junior Olympics.

“She showed a lot of determination and grit,” said Ben Tomczak, Julia’s coach and an employee of the County of Bucks, where he works as an enterprise manager. “It might not be the most physical sport, but it’s very challenging from a stamina and mental capacity.

“Since age 10, I’ve never really seen anybody take it more seriously from a standpoint of enjoying the sport, never complaining when it was cold out or hot or rainy. She shot in matches where it was 98 degrees with 98 percent humidity for hours on end, and she just toughs that out.

“I couldn’t be more proud of her that she actually accomplished this goal and she’s getting to experience that during her high school years.”

In November, Julia Tomczak earned her junior rifle coach certification from a consortium of USA Shooting, the NRA and the Civilian Marksmanship Program.

“She can help me and other rifle instructors/coaches officially when needed,” her proud father shared.

She has competed extensively in the Mid-Atlantic states, but her trip to Colorado Springs in less than a month will top her previous endeavors.

And unlike most sports, shooting crosses generations.

“It’s definitely different from what other kids do. It’s a lifetime sport,” Julia Tomczak said, “so you can do it throughout your whole life.”

dcampbell@buckscountyherald.com

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