PARLIER, Calif. (KFSN) -- Ionee Mendoza's focus makes her the one to beat at the National NJROTC Championships.
The Parlier High junior just won the US Navy Regional title in Chandler, Arizona for three-position air rifle.
"I mean, coming from a small school like this, it's pretty much a lot of pride," Mendoza said.
Mendoza insists she is shy and reserved, but she exudes quiet confidence. She out-shot boys and girls from much bigger schools.
"It was pretty surprising because I thought they were going to give me even more of a challenge, to be honest," Mendoza said.
Mendoza's scores make her the one to beat at next month nationals at Camp Perry, Ohio.
Principal George Alvarado has watched Mendoza blossom in the NJROTC program.
"Someone that's so ambitious in regards to NJROTC and working hard in that program," Alvarado said. "Very dedicated and puts in countless hours to prepare for competitions."
Mendoza dedicated her regional win to the late Mark Bristol, Parlier's former NJROTC teacher, who died in an accident last year.
"He meant a lot," Mendoza said. "Like he was my father, my best friend. He was just there for me."
Mendoza's shooting skills might have even opened up a career path.
"I'm thinking about joining the Navy so I can become a sniper, but I'm still not sure because I want to pursue my college career."
Mendoza finished in 6th place at nationals last year. She says she was nervous then, so Mendoza expects to do much better in March in Ohio.
Parlier High School student receiving high praise for NJROTC dedication
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