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Athlete to Watch: Ashley Carroll


There is an unmistakable innocence in youth and with it comes fearlessness and oppor- tunity.


No one epitomizes this


more in our sport currently than trap shooter Ashley Carroll. Frankly, having just turned 19,


she’s way ahead of her time. Her performances in 2013 equate to someone who you think spends vast amounts of time practic- ing her craft. She doesn’t.


Not


because she’s not committed, but rather due to circumstance. The nearest bunker to her small Dutch community of Solvang, Calif. is three hours away on a good day. She spends her week- ends there but can’t afford much more.


The limited time on the


gun ensures that every shot she takes is with purpose.


That purpose has led her straight to the top of the women’s trap rankings over the past 12 months, a run that started with a title at the 2012 Fall Selection Match in Kerrville, Texas.


She


followed that up with another Selection Match victory this past spring in Ft. Benning, Ga., and then went on to earn a bronze medal at the USA Shooting Na- tional Championships. She also dominated her age level on her way to a 10-point victory at the National Junior Olympic Shooting Championships. More recently, she fi nished second at the Fall


Selection Match in Tucson, Ariz. But the event that might


showcase Carroll’s mental tough- ness most of all might have been the Granada (Spain) World Cup. Like so many of our athletes, Carroll had to deal with a miss- ing gun after it did not arrive with her upon arrival in Brussels. She spent two full days at the airport in Spain waiting for the arrival of her gun. Assuming her gun may not make it to the event on time, she practiced one day using guns borrowed from teammates Corey Cogdell and Jake Wallace. Thankfully, her gun was lo-


cated by the airlines and arrived in Spain during the Offi cial Train- ing Day. She had to leave Offi cial Training day at the range after her fi rst round at 10:00 a.m. to travel two hours by taxi to pick it up. She was able to get back to the shooting range to shoot her last two practice rounds with her gun. The only goal she had in mind


before leaving for this World Cup event was to shoot a better score than she did in the 2013 World Cup in Acapulco. Well, she ac- complished that as well as shooting her fi rst 25 straight in an ISSF World Cup event, then shot another continuous 25 straight for 50 straight, made the fi nals round by shooting off for the fourth position, and fi nished fi fth.


Despite the ominous be- 20 USA Shooting News | Year in Review 2013


ginning, it was her highest World Cup fi nish to date. Carroll grew up in a shooting family and begged her father, Charlie, to let her shoot during his Wednesday night league at the Santa Ynez Valley Sportsmen Association (SYVSA). She fi nally got her chance at the age of seven, and she’s been addicted ever since. Her foray into Olym- pic shooting was the result of a conversation with fellow Golden State shooter and fi ve-time Olympic medalist Kim Rhode, who turned Carroll on to the idea of competing for her country with a chance for gold. Her father, Charlie, has been her coach every step of the way. He’s that steady infl uence Ashley craves.


“I actually do like it,” said Ash-


ley, when asked to describe that often father/coach relationship. “Sometimes we do butt heads. But we have such a personal relationship to the sport and we connect on a level that I couldn’t with anyone else.” Naturally, Dad is always push- ing her to do more, particularly in between those days of training. “My dad says I should be doing gun mounts, but I don’t.”


Nev-


ertheless, whatever the two are doing has worked. The two have braced for the reality that comes next.


ley has been accepted into the USA Shooting’s Resident Pro- gram and will move to Colorado Springs in January.


Finding the


time or place to shoot will no longer be a problem. Immediately she gets to start training and competing along- side National Team Trap mem- bers including Rachael Heiden, Cogdell, Wallace and Collin Wi- etfeldt.


She wants to dedicate more time to the mental ap- proach of the game as well and thus she welcomes the opportu- nity to work alongside U.S. Olym- pic Committee Sport Psycholo- gists to improve her capabilities in this area.


One thing is certain, no mat-


ter what she’s been given or what opportunities lie before her, the grounded Carroll will remain humble.


“I really try and not put ex- pectations on myself,”


Carroll


acknowledges. “Personally, I do everything I can to keep expecta- tions off myself. There’s so many possibilities that could happen (when considering an Olympic opportunity). I’m enjoying every moment of being able to com- pete and travel. The Olympics is the dream but that doesn’t mean if I don’t get there that all is lost. I’m pretty humble about things. Whatever happens, happens.”


Ash-


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