By Julie Huss
---- — DERRY — She aims, she shoots, she continues to score.
A middle-school student continues to rack up awards in air rifle competitions.
Elizabeth Dutton represented New Hampshire in the 2013 Junior Olympics earlier this spring in Denver. She was the only woman representing the Granite State in air rifle competition. She also competed in smallbore rifle contests.
Elizabeth is finishing eighth grade at West Running Brook Middle School.
During the Junior Olympics, she shot her personal best on the first day of air rifle — 370 points out of a possible 400.
Elizabeth learned the sport of precision rifle shooting when she was very young. At 7, she participated in an NRA/4-H sponsored junior rifle program at the Chester Rod and Gun Club.
She soon realized it was something she wanted to continue to do.
“My dad bought me my first rifle at Christmas when I was 7,” she said.
Talents at the shooting range don’t fall far from the family tree. Her father, Bill Dutton, is a seven-time state shooting champion. He said he was impressed with his young daughter’s talents.
“At age 11, she tried out for the Hudson Fish and Game Club’s junior rifle team, where she is now a regular member,” Dutton said. “At 13, she competed in her first national championships in Ohio, performing well among the top in her age category.”
The Hudson Fish and Game Club junior rifle team trains regularly and participates year-round in competitive small-bore and precision air rifle.
Team members range from 10 to 20 years of age and compete in NRA indoor and outdoor sectionals, regional competitions and also travel to matches across the nation.
The team has produced past state and national champions. Several members have gone on to compete in NCAA Rifle in college, some earning athletic scholarships in rifle.
Bill Dutton said he is proud of his daughter, but takes little credit for introducing her to the sport. He credited the Hudson Fish and Game Club for helping forge his daughter’s talents and creating championship shooters as part of their programs.