This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
Athlete Feature: Michael McPhail With a Good Dog & Rifl e, McPhail Cannot Lose As a shooter, Michael

McPhail has all the qualities of a good bird dog: instinct, aggression, confi dence, in- telligence, trainability and good lineage. It’s an easy comparison

to make given McPhail’s love of training quality bird dogs born from a hunting pedigree dating back to the start of his teenage years. It is then that Ed Weigel would introduce McPhail, born and raised in Darlington, Wiscon- sin, to both rifl e and hunting, starting a love affair with both that hasn’t been tem- pered since. Today, McPhail the rifl e-

man is much different than McPhail the hunter. Rifl e is his job; one he’s particularly good at having earned eight medals in international com- petition including bronze in September in 300m Prone Rifl e. Hunting is his passion. For now, both take on equal levels of obsession. The 2012 Olympian rec-

ognizes he’s at the prime of his career as a rifl eman, with the window short to retrieve the medals he so desires. As he primes himself for an- other Olympic opportunity in 2016, there’s an edge to him born out of one thing— winning. “Winning is very fun,”

McPhail states when asked about what fun he derives from his shooting career. “The process and training and all of that, I wouldn’t say it is fun. It is long days

and they are hard. You’re leaving a part of yourself out there. The fun part for me is winning and I’ll tell you one thing – I’ve never had any pain, any doubt when I was standing on the podium. You feel none of that pain on the podium.” Flushing opportunity,

that’s been the easy part. Seizing it, is another thing altogether. As a competi- tive shooter, you prepare yourself for days like August 3, 2012, when a millimeter was all that stood between him and an Olympic fi nal. Shooting 39 bullseyes over the course of 60 shots still left him tied with nine other competitors for fi ve spots in the Finals. With a fi ve-shot shootoff , McPhail thought he was in great shape; av- eraging a 10.26 throughout and never straying outside the 10-ring on any of the fi ve shots. But his Finals dream would be undone that day by three-tenths of a point. Three-tenths short haunt-

ed him again in September at the World Championship, falling that much short of the desired goal of shooting in the 50m Prone Finals and more importantly, earning the top-fi ve ranking it would take to earn an Olympic quota.

Aside from a good up-

bringing and a strong will to win, Staff Sergeant McPhail credits the Army Marksman- ship Unit for bringing out the best in him.

“The Army has calmed

me down a little bit and let me look at things a differ- ent way,” McPhail admits. “I have a tendency to let my emotions take over at times, so being with the Army puts me around people who are winners and I don’t think that can be taken too lightly. The fi rst two years I got here, I shot between [Tom] Tamas, [Mike] Anti, [Jason] Parker and [Eric} Uptagrafft… You’re around people that know how to win, know how to train and if you don’t you can at least emulate that.” If, as some suggest,

McPhail is like an onion, then there’s still only three things in his life capable of peeling back those layers: his wife, Kari; his daughter, Addison, and a French Brit- tany named Jasmine, his lat- est hunting companion. When talking about four-

year-old Addison, he beams. “She means everything. She’s the only one that can break me. She provides the perspective I need now in

my career. If I didn’t shoot particularly well one day, she doesn’t care. She’s just glad I’m home.” When talking about his

wife of 10 years, he’s thank- ful. “She kicks me in the ass when needed. She’s my counter-balance.” When asked to describe

McPhail, his former team- mate and now coach Sgt. Parker, says it simply. “He’s a lead by example type of guy. He is an extremely in- tense competitor in every- thing he does. Whether it is match day or practice, he shows up with a very intense focus and carries it through to the end. He’s the fi rst per- son to show up to the range for training, and you can count on it to be highly orga- nized, effi cient and focused on a specifi c aspect of his performance.” Intense, effi cient, focused

and ready to grab the prize when opportunity strikes. Yes, all the qualities of a good bird dog.

Year in Review 2014 | USA Shooting News


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84