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Athlete Feature: Brandy Drozd As a world champion


skeet shooter and aspiring dermatologist, Brandy Dro- zd (Bryan, Texas) doesn’t let anything get under her skin. “Her mental game is


unbelievable,” said fellow shooter Dustin Perry. “Noth- ing bothers her. She’s just a rock. You can’t get in her way. When she’s on, she’s on.”


And Drozd was on at the


recent ISSF World Champi- onship in Granada, Spain. She hit 73 of 75 targets in the qualifi cation rounds, shot a perfect 16 in the semifi nal and then defeated Elena Allen of Great Britain 14-13 in the fi nal. The 20-year-old from Bry-


an, Texas, became only the third U.S. woman to win a world title in the 52-year his- tory of women’s skeet, join- ing Kim Rhode (2010) and Terry Carlisle (1985). She also earned a quota spot for the U.S. at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The victory marked Dro-


zd’s fi rst major international gold medal. Although she’d come close before, placing second in the Munich World Cup event in June and at the 2012 World Cup Final, she had never reached the top step of the podium. Winning a world cup


fi rst, Drozd said, “would be the normal way to do it, but I didn’t do it the normal way. It just happened at the right time. I was prepared and confi dent and shooting great, so it all worked out.”


Drozd had experience on


the same range from July, when she won the Spain Grand Prix, so she knew what to expect from the tar- gets and the weather. As the competition be-


gan, Drozd, who was ranked No. 3 in the world, said she wondered, “Why am I not nervous?” But by the semifi nal, she


said, “I realized I was shaky, so I was able to hold it to- gether and shoot a perfect score. I may not show it, but I can defi nitely feel the nerves. I’m just able to keep myself calm.” Drozd took deep breaths


and ran through her mental routine, keeping her head focused on her goal. In the fi nal, Drozd shot


fi rst, followed by the 42-year- old Allen. “I would miss one and she would miss one,” Drozd said. “We missed on the fi rst station and the third station (of eight sta- tions). We went into last four targets tied, and I cleaned them and she missed the second target on the fi rst double.” Nobody on the range was


more excited to watch her win than two-time Olympic gold medalist Vincent Han- cock. “I’ve shot with her for


several years now and I’ve seen her coming up and I knew that she was going to be something special,” Hancock said, “just the way that she goes out there and competes — it reminds me


a lot of me. It’s a lot of fun to watch somebody when they’re on top of the world like that.” Hancock said he prac-


ticed with Drozd before the spring selection match “and I think I may have beaten her once. It just goes to show how good she really is. “Talking to her, you would


never know that she is such a fi ery competitor. She comes out to beat absolute- ly everybody, guys included. She has to up her game for Kim (Rhode), especially — all of our girls do — and that goes to show how good our skeet program is getting in the U.S.” At worlds, No. 1-ranked


Rhode, the reigning Olympic champion, was eliminated in the fi ve-person shoot-off for the last two fi nalist positions following an uncharacteris-


tic 23 out of 25. However, Drozd, Rhode


and Haley Dunn earned enough points collectively for the world team bronze medal. As a further measure of depth in the event Dania Vizzi of the U.S. won the ju- nior skeet world title. Rhode, now 35 and a


new mother, and Drozd are friends and have roomed to- gether at matches. “She’s defi nitely some-


one I look up to,” Drozd said. “She’ll give me little tips here and there, mostly just things like ‘Keep calm, just act like it’s practice,’ little confi dence boosters. We have a good friendship.”


Read the rest of this story at http://bit.ly/11lEBG2.


BY KAREN ROSEN FOR TEAMUSA.ORG Brandy Drozd: Shooting Star on World Stage


Year in Review 2014 | USA Shooting News


19


Photo by: Marco Dalla Dea/ISSF


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