Murray State sophomore Kelsey Emme received the opportunity of a lifetime when she traveled to Munich, Germany, for the Bavarian Airgun Championships Jan. 24-26.
In order to qualify, the shooters were chosen based on their performances at the Winter Airgun Championships this past November in Colorado Springs, Colo. Two Olympic shooters, 2008 Olympian Brian Beaman and 2012 Olympian Nick Mowrer were among the athletes.
Emme shot a 103.1 on the final day of competition at the Winter Airgun Championships; which qualified her for a spot on the team.
Early this year, she shot a final score of 103, making her the 2012 USA Shooting Junior Air Rifle National Champion.
The journey to Munich began with a 10-hour flight from Washington, D.C. to Germany. The competition is spread over the course of two days.
Upon arriving in Germany, the U.S. team traveled to two major gun factories. The team took tours of the facilities and some even had their guns worked on while there.
Remaining calm and focused was the biggest challenge, Emme said. The rifle range they shot on housed 100 lanes.
“I prepared how I would any other match, I tried to remain calm and not let the big-stage get to me” she said. “Going into the second day, after shooting well the first day, it was a struggle not to put too much pressure on myself.”
Shooting all season long with the Racers, the repetition and training helped Emme deal with the pressure.
“I think this will help with my collegiate shooting, it definitely taught me to keep my standards higher than I have been,” Emme said. “I know I can shoot a lot better than I have been and I’m going to keep working toward that goal.”
Three of the six American finalists medaled. Emme earned a spot in the finals in the Women’s Open Air Final; she shot a 398/400.
The Bavarian Airgun Rifle Championships are the beginning of the long road to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
The U. S. shooting coaches and staff said in an article at Ammoland.com, “they have identified 2013 as a developmental progression year in which they’ll try and expose as many elite and emerging elite athletes to advance training and competition in order to create depth in all shooting disciplines.”
The Racers are glad to have Emme back in the U. S. as they prepare for the OVC Championships.
Story by Laura Kovarik, Staff writer.