Michael J Flores Olympic Trap Shooter
Grandson of Rancho Murieta couple tapped for Jr. Olympics
Photo courtesy to River Valley Times
Michael Flores gives his gun a break between events at a recent tournament in Los Angeles. Flores captured the 2009 California State Championship at age 14 and distinguished himself as the youngest ever to win the title.
By Sheri Barile River Valley Times Reporter -
Rancho Murieta residents Mary and Bill Mosley are proud grandparents after learning that their grandson Michael Flores has been selected for the U.S Junior Olympic shooting team. The honor is a particularly prestigious one, as Flores is one of only nine young men from across the nation to be selected for the team, and the only Californian.
Flores is a sophomore at Elk Grove Charter School and has been clay trapshooting competitively at the national and international level for three years. He captured the 2009 California State Championship at age 14 and distinguished himself as the youngest ever to win the title. Flores went on to win the 2009 Canadian National Junior Open Championships in Vancouver, British Columbia. As a member of the Scholastic Clay Target Team that same year, Flores won the gold medal at the California Junior Olympics and the bronze medal at the National Junior Olympic Championships, in which he participated as an individual shooter.
The Junior Olympic team is selected annually by the USA Shooting National Shotgun coach. Selection is based primarily on an individual shooter’s performance in the previous year’s shooting events. Other considerations for selection include a candidate’s volunteer activities, academic performance and the national coach’s judgment on the shooter’s potential for future success.
Considering his prior achievements, Mary Mosley knew her grandson had a chance to make the team but tried to keep her optimism in check. “We knew Michael was possibly in contention to be selected,” she said. “But there are so many good young shooters and so few places on the team that it is an immense honor to be selected.”
Mosley said she found out the news in mid February when she sat down to read an email from her daughter Melissa Flores of Elk Grove. The message contained only two words – good news – and a link to a website. When Mosley accessed the link, she was taken to the official site of the U.S Junior Olympic shooting team, where she spotted her grandson's name. “I was so excited to see Michael’s name was there,” Mosley said. “We were hopeful that he’d be selected, but still we were surprised and overwhelmed with happiness.”
As for Flores, his ultimate goal is to compete in the 2016 Olympics. But for now he is basking in his current achievement. “It feels great to earn this recognition,” Flores said. "Now I have the opportunity to wear with pride the letters U.S.A.”
The teen has been shooting since he was 10 years old and now competes throughout the country all year long. He is grateful to his parents for their support including transportation almost daily to practice at the nearest facilities in Lincoln and Martinez. “This sport takes commitment, and I didn’t do it alone,” Flores said. “I owe a big thank you to all of my supporters.” Two of his biggest supporters are his grandparents, who try to attend as many shooting competitions as they can. “Last July we went to Colorado Springs to support Michael at two of the big national trapshooting events,” Mary Mosley said. “We also joined him in March, 2008 in Texas for the competition that determined the USA team selection for the 2008 Olympic games. Even before we found out Michael was selected for the 2010 National Junior Olympic team, we had already planned to return to Colorado for the national competitions this summer.”
Mosley recalls when her grandson first started trapshooting, and she remarked about how quickly he mastered the skill. “He has a natural ability that he has perfected as he matures,” she said. “He attended a clinic presented by Olympic coach B.J. McDaniels, where his interest and talent were recognized. He jumped in head first and hasn’t come up for air yet.”
This month Flores will be traveling to Ft. Benning, Georgia to compete in the spring preliminary tryouts, attempting to win a spot on the World Cup team. The National Junior Olympics will be held in Colorado Springs, Colorado this July.
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