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Alana Townsend There have been a few great ones that have originated out of the Big Sky State to make their mark on this sport. The latest

shooting prodigy, Alana Townsend,is anxious to be a part of the discussion. Lones Wigger and Pat (Spurgin) Pitney are legendary for their accomplishments. For Townsend to even be mentioned in the same breath is perhaps a bit premature but nevertheless relevant given her dramatic rise as a Women’s Air Pistol competitor. Proof of that was in her most recent conquest, having earned a national title in Women’s Air Pistol and fi nished as the top

overall pistol competitor at the NRA Intercollegiate Pistol Championships. In January, she earned a spot in the Finals of the Bavarian Airgun Championships and fi nished eighth overall, after fi nishing qualifi cation as the top competitor.

“It helped me realize that I can do anything that I put my mind to,” said Townsend of her NRA success. “If I work hard and train hard I can do anything that I have worked hard towards.”

Helping drive that success is the incredibly competitive junior women’s pistol program with achievement beyond their years. With all three of this issue’s featured pistol com- petitors having found Open-level success, there seems to be a friendly rivalry forming that will push each one individually to achieve even more. “Lydia and Darian are very hard, good competitors and they are helping me become a better shooter,” admits Townsend. “All of us go back and forth during matches. There is defi nite friendship between us before and after matches, but during matches, we are very competitive. If one of them beat me during a match, I strive to do better for the next one to beat them the next time.” “This scenario is playing out very well for the women’s team,” said Assistant National Pistol Coach Eric Pueppke about the depth being built among this new wave of pistol shooter. “These three will push each other to a higher level just by competing against each other.” Another factor in Townsend’s ongoing success are the two people that helped make moving out-of-state to attend North Dakota State University an easy decision. “I chose to attend North Dakota State because two assistant National Junior Team coaches, Pueppke and Steve Faught, both live 30 miles from Fargo,” said Townsend. “I am able to train and be coached while attending school. They have both helped me a lot, since I live so far away from home. If I ever have any problems, they are always there to help me.” “I’ve worked a lot with Alana helping her develop and improve

the very well-defi ned shot process that she uses,” said Pueppke. “Part of her confi dence on the fi ring line comes from knowing that her system works well for her. My best advice is to maintain this solid base, and then set goals to move ever higher. Performing the fundamentals correctly on a higher and higher percentage of her shots will lead to bet- ter scores, and more trips to the top step on the podium, not only here in the U.S., but on the world stage as well.” “Being a part of the USA Shooting Team means more than represent-

ing your country; it’s about being a part of a family and having friends that have the same interest as you. It means making not only myself and my family happy, but everyone else around me happy as well. Being a member of the team, it has given me hope that I will fi nally be able to make the Olympics, which has always been a dream of mine since I was little.”

May 2014 | USA Shooting News 35

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