Indian Valley alum places in NRA shooting competitions
LEWISTOWN — U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Adam Sokolowski has been shooting competitively since before he graduated from Indian Valley High School in 1999.
Since 2015, Sokolowski has won the Open, Metallic and Production divisions in the National Rifle Association Bianchi Cup open, held this year over Memorial Day weekend in Missouri. Sokolowski’s, now-fourth consecutive win has designated him the 2018 the Triple Crown winner.
“Shooting is a personal challenge,” Sokolowski said. “You can be as good as you want. It has provided me with the drive and determination to be the best and it served me well in all aspects of life.”
Sokolowski is the second shooter to claim the Triple Crown in the 40-year history of the Bianchi Cup. Additionally, Sokolowski, competing against more than 150 other shooters, finished this year’s match with a perfect score and won the multi-gun championship.
On July 15, Sokolowski placed second in the NRA Precision Pistol competition, held at the Camp Perry Air National Guard post in Ohio. This is the third time Sokolowski ranked second in the Precision Pistol competition, competing against more than 500 other shooters in this year’s match. He was awarded a silver medal, $100 and a Ruger SR1911 Target 9mm pistol for this achievement, as well as a glass trophy, gold medal and $50 for being the Regular Service champion.
“I have worked very hard to get here,” Sokolowski said.
Sokolowski started competitive shooting at age 12. In 1998, Sokolowski won the National Junior Pistol championship and participated in consecutive competitions, often placing between first and third, until 2008, according to his Army biography. In 2013, Sokolowski was named the U.S. Army Marksmanship Service Pistol team coach and continued to compete, often claiming first and second place ranks in both NRA and military shooting competitions.
“Competing and training has prepared me for being a great marksmanship instructor,” Sokolowski said. “We use our skills learned on the range to instruct soldiers and prepare them for qualifications and deployment. It’s very rewarding to know that the skills we pass on could save lives.”
Sokolowski said the most difficult experience in competitive shooting “has been demanding perfection every time, on all events.”
Despite a few mistakes during the competition, “I never faltered or gave up,” he said. “It’s (an) aggregate and you never know until the last shot who has won.”
Currently, Sokolowski holds the rank of High Master — the highest shooting classification — in both the Bianchi Cup and Precision Pistol competition. During his 20 years with the U.S. Army, Sokolowski has also been awarded non-competitive honors such as the Distinguished Pistol Shot badge, the German Marksmanship Gold badge, the Joint Service Commendation medal, the National Defense Service medal, the Afghanistan Campaign medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service medal, an Army Service ribbon, the NATO medal, the President’s Hundred Tab, four Army Commendation awards, four Army Achievement medals, two Army Superior Unit Awards, three Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development ribbons and five Army Good Conduct medals.