A Young Shooter's Exceptional Display of Sportsmanship

M’Leah Lambdin alerted judges to an error they had made in her favor.

Lambdin alerted judges to the fact that she had only taken four shots, not five.
Lambdin alerted judges to the fact that she had only taken four shots, not five.ssusa.org

Fifteen-year old M’Leah Lambdin exhibited exceptional sportsmanship at the 2018 NRA National Smallbore Rifle Conventional 3-Position Championships held from July 19-30 in Bristol, Indiana when she alerted judges to an error they had made in her favor—costing herself 10 points in the process.

Shooting Sports USA reports that Lambdin, who started shooting at the tender age of five under her grandfather's careful tutelage, was on the firing line attempting to close out her five-shot string when time ran out. Because her four-shot group was so tight, officials assumed that she must have doubled in one hole and gave her credit for five shots. With no prodding, Lambdin informed the judges of her mistake, even though it meant a reduction in points for the young athlete.

M’Leah was disappointed that she had hurt her and her team’s chances, but she followed the advice of her coach, Lieutenant Colonel Scott Casey of the Junior ROTC program at Granbury High School in Texas. “My school coach always says, ‘Let your conscience be your guide,’” words she obviously believes in.

Lambdin says she's using an Anschutz 1907 rifle and Eley ammunition for practice and competition this year.
Lambdin says she's using an Anschutz 1907 rifle and Eley ammunition for practice and competition this year.ssusa.org

Despite the 10-point deduction, mother Beth Lambdin is, “[S]o very proud of her and this means more to me than any award or score she could ever get.”

The teen told Shooting Sports USA in an interview that her favorite part of competition is "[T]hat it's always a competition with yourself. At the end of the day, I'm the one pulling the trigger, shooting for the highest score I can achieve that day." So it should come as no surprise that the youth was as honest with the judges as she was with herself.

"The best part is that it’s always a competition with yourself. At the end of the day, I’m the one pulling the trigger, shooting for the highest score I can achieve that day. In shooting, I always have to strive to push myself to the limits to improve my score each time I get on the line. The equipment is not the most important, but more yourself as a person," she said in the interview. "The space between your ears will make or break you in a match. This is a sport that demands constant improvement, and every competition is a new chance at that."