Kelsey Emme, freshman shooter for the Murray State rifle team, has achieved as an underclassman what would be impressive of any shooter. Emme has been selected to compete with the USA Shooting National Development Team, opening doors that may eventually lead her to the Olympics.
Earlier this month, Emme competed in the Junior Olympics in Colorado Springs, Colo., placing fifth in air rifle and second in smallbore. Her second place smallbore score granted Emme a place on the USA Shooting Junior National Team.
“Going into the match, I felt like I’d prepared well and prepared to go into the finals and so I was ready for a good match,” Emme said. “When I got there and shot two days of consistent air rifle, I was glad it was consistent but it wasn’t quite as high of a score as I was hoping for. Then with smallbore, my first day was rough, but I made up for it with a 197 kneeling at the end of the first day, so I felt better after that. The second day I came back and shot a 577 to put me in the finals.”
As prepared as she was to compete, she acknowledged the potential for failure was certainly present.
“It was one of those goals that you hope for and know you should reach, but there’s always a chance that you won’t,” Emme said. “It’s more of a relief than anything, but then it’s a whole new game.”
Murray State Head Coach Alan Lollar, said Emme’s success is a product of persistent training, determination Emme’s big dreams.
“It was not a surprise that she did well at Junior Olympics,” Lollar said. “She has been training hard, with the goal of winning.”
In addition to making the National Development team, Emme has the chance to take place in shooting competitions abroad.
“We’ll be waiting to see if she gets the opportunity this summer to travel with them,” Lollar said. “That experience is invaluable. The competition is tough and you have to bring your best.”
Regardless of whether Emme shoots overseas, simply earning a spot on the team puts her a step closer to her Olympic aspirations.
“It’s going to open up a lot of opportunities, and may even let me make the Olympic team,” Emme said. “But it will also get my name out there so that people are more aware of me and everyone on the development team.”
After her experience with the USA?Shooting National Development Team, Emme will return to Racer rifle as an invaluable asset, both as a more mature shooter and as a leader.
“I think this was a big match for Kelsey in a lot of ways,” Lollar said. “Not the least of which is the confidence and maturity gained by shooting on that stage. I think Kelsey has emerged as a leader on our team. She is a great example every day on the range. No one out works her. On match day, she shows up to compete.”