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Q & A: McKenna Dahl Last year we featured McKenna Dahl and Mike Tagliapietra as up-and-coming talent within the Paralympic Shooting


program and these two athletes have proven themselves as contenders for the 2016 Paralympic Games by earning the fi rst two quotas at their fi rst International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Championship in Germany this year – that’s as many athletes as we had in the 2012 Paralympic Games - as well as earning slots on the Paralympic National Team. McKenna also makes history as the fi rst woman to earn a shooting Paralympic quota for the United States. Since coming to the Olympic Training Center earlier this year as a Resident Athlete, she says she can fi nally just focus on shooting. Before she graduated, she could make an excuse and focus on something else, but now it’s just shooting. “My scores have gone up a lot since I’ve been here – at least fi ve points in each event. I think I can make a lot of Finals


in my events now if I can shoot that way in a competition and that’s exciting...It’s crazy to think that (the 2016 Paralympic Games) are less than two years away. That’s not long at all and the World Cup in Fort Benning, Georgia is the last chance to earn a quota. That’s crazy!” The pair has grown close over the past year of competition and we’ve asked them to interview each other, one teammate to another...That is, if they can take a break from teasing each other...


Mike: Who are the people that have had the biggest infl uence on your life? McKenna: I’d have to say my parents and my coach, Dan Steffan, who passed away about two-and-a-half years ago.


Mike: You have become a very good shooter. How has shooting af- fected your life? McKenna: Honestly, there is no simple answer here. All of my shooting ad- ventures and experiences have molded me into the person I am today. Shooting has taught me valuable life lessons, and I will only continue to learn as my shooting career progresses.


Mike: What advice would you give to kids who want to pur- sue shooting as a sport? McKenna: I would tell them to work hard and stick with it. Shooting is a sport that you never stop learning in. Don’t get discouraged when things don’t go right. Just pick up the gun and keep trying.


Mike: You’re an amazing young woman that has a fearless approach to life; you don’t see obstacles, you see possibilities! What are your aspirations outside of shoot- ing?


McKenna: Besides my shooting career, I am looking at pos- sibly becoming a lawyer. I have already completed my As- sociate’s degree when I graduated high school this year. I hope to job shadow a local lawyer this year to see if it is something I would like to pursue. If it’s not, I would like to work with Wounded Warriors or children in some way.


60 USA Shooting News | Year in Review 2014


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