Junior Feature: Lauren “Sissy” Wood of the California Grizzlies

Lauren “Sissy” Wood, 18, has been a member of the California Grizzlies Junior Highpower Rifle Team for the last five years. At the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s (CMP) Talladega Highpower Regional Cup Matches in July 2020, she earned the High Woman title of the Cup Events and also joined teammate Dustin Carr to earn third place overall in the Two-Man Team match.

At the 2019 National Matches, Sissy earned third overall in the High Civilian category and was the first overall junior in the Day 2 slow fire in the CMP Cup 1,000 Aggregate Match. She also fired in the National Trophy Team and the National Trophy Infantry Team (Rattle Battle) competitions, placing second High Junior with her Grizzlies team in both events.

How did you get into competitive shooting?

I originally started shooting .22s as an eight year old with my dad. Every month, he would take me to the local gun club’s junior day, and I would get to shoot. I did that until I was in about 7th grade. That’s when my dad also got me into highpower. Ever since then, I’ve been shooting highpower with the Grizzlies.

Do you only shoot highpower? What’s your favorite firearm to shoot, and why?

I really only shoot highpower. It’s also my favorite gun. I’m able to use it as almost an extension of my body and not just a firearm.

Wood has been a member of the Grizzlies for five years.

What is one of your best memories from competitive shooting?

One of my favorite memories from shooting was my fourth year in Ohio, the 1,000 CMP Cup Aggregate. I had shot my personal best at 600 two days in a row.

What is your practice routine? How often, and what do you do?

I mainly practice after matches to help fix what I did wrong in that match and then practice at home after.

How do you prepare for a match on match day (mentally and physically)?

I don’t necessarily have a physical routine, but I do have a couple mental things that I do that are kind of quirky actually. I tell myself that all you need to do is focus on the next shot, and whatever you just shot is in the past – focus on the next one. I just repeat that. And remember to breath.

What’s the best shooting advice you’ve ever received?

“Think center, shoot center” – Jim O’Connell

What are some other hobbies you have outside of shooting?

Some of my other hobbies include hiking, working and hanging out with friends.

What are your plans for the future (in and outside of shooting)? What are some goals you hope to achieve?

My ultimate goal in shooting is to leg out and get Distinguished. Once I achieve that, I’m not sure what’s next.

In July 2020, she and teammate Dustin Carr (left) earned third overall in the Talladega team event.

About the California Grizzlies:

The California Grizzlies Rifle Team has been a part of the Jamestown, California, community for over two decades – formalizing in 2003 and earning a 501(c)3 distinction in 2008. Consisting of juniors between the ages of 13 and 20 who come from all over the state of California, the team is open to National Rifle Association and CMP Highpower classified California youth who are interested in trying out. Many Grizzlies have advanced on after their junior marksmanship careers to the Citadel, Air Force Academy, Army Marksmanship Unit, U.S. Rifle Team, Navy and Annapolis.

Each summer, the California Grizzlies travel to Camp Perry, Ohio, to compete in the annual National Matches. Over the years, the Grizzlies have accrued countless junior wins in National Matches events, with National Record-setting members. One of their most notable accomplishments came in 2009, when the Grizzlies became the first junior team to win the century-old Rattle Battle, also snagging the honor of being the first civilian team to win the match since 1930. With the win, the team also set a new junior National Record score.

To learn more about the California Grizzlies, visit their website at https://www.teamgrizzlies.org/index.html.

Interested in getting involved in marksmanship in your area? Visit the CMP Competition Tracker page and search clubs: https://ct.thecmp.org/app/v1/index.php?do=clubSearch. You can also get in touch with your CMP State Director through the CMP website at https://thecmp.org/training-tech/state-director/

– By Ashley Brugnone, CMP Staff Writer

The Civilian Marksmanship Program is a federally chartered 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation. It is dedicated to firearm safety and marksmanship training and to the promotion of marksmanship competition for citizens of the United States. For more information about the CMP and its programs, log onto www.TheCMP.org.