Recently I attended the Winter Air Gun Championship for pistol and rifle. This also was the first part of air gun Olympic Trials. This is a large competition normally, but this time it was huge! There were more than 400 athletes from all over the country there to compete not only for the title of Winter Air Gun Champion, but also for the opportunity to move onto Olympic Air Gun Trials part two. The top ten males and the top ten females from rifle and pistol receive invitations to the second part in June.
This competition was a positive step in the right direction for me. It helped me realize how close I am, and gave me a boost to work that much harder to make it all the way to the Olympics. My first day, I was still recovering from a little food poisoning the previous night as well as driving until 3 in the morning to our hotel. It was a rough night, but even with those issues, I was able to push through the next morning and matched my personal best of 378/400 (the last time I shot that in competition was in Korea). In finals, I made it to fourth, which finished me off in 2nd place for the day. Next day, I shot a personal best of 380/400. It felt great. I was strong and felt good going into finals, where I finished third. That put me as the champion of the day, and overall in first. I used the high to carry over into the third day where I shot a 381/400, another personal best. I was in third for the day, but now I was tied with first place for the overall champion. I went into finals strong and had a great lead. It came down to the last shot. All I needed to shoot was a 9.3 or better, and I would have been the overall champion for Winter Air Gun 2015. I lined up my shot and began my trigger pull. I started to run out of time, and oxygen. My gun began to shake, but I didn’t have time to reset. I pulled, praying for a miracle. Didn’t happen. I shot a 6… WHAT?? A 6?? Well, needless to say, it didn’t cut it. I ended up third for the day, and second place overall. I only missed it by one silly little point. I had to laugh at myself, but at least now I have something to focus on for next time.
Well, I left expecting that was it. I would prepare myself for April Smallbore Olympic trials, then the second part of air Olympic trials in June. Not so. Friday after Winter Air Gun, I received a couple of very important emails. The first was from Sergey Luzov, the national pistol coach. He was inviting me to join the National Development Team. This has been a goal for me for years, and is a big step. It opens me up for many other competitions and opportunities to be involved in the national and international shooting world. The next email from Sergey was an invitation to compete in the Austrian Meyton Cup as well as the Bavarian Championships in Germany, both happening between January 20th and the 31st. This is an amazing opportunity that I’m extremely excited to be part of. I will prepare daily for the big trip and be excited to represent the US in Europe.