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David Higgins - the dark horse!

The underdog! The wildcard! In the past few weeks

since qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Team in Men’s 3URQH 5LÁH WKH $LU )RUFH Academy senior with the self-deprecating sense of humor has heard them all. “It’s kind of funny that

everyone’s been, ‘Out of OHIW ÀHOG +LJJLQV IRU WKH Olympics!’ and I was like, ‘I thought I had a chance the entire time!’” he said with a jokingly exasperated sigh. “Maybe I was the only one who believed in me, but I thought hey, I came in third for World Championships, I’m pretty decent nationally. I honestly thought I had a shot at Olympic Trials, but everyone else is ‘Higgins out RI OHIW ÀHOG 2XW RI QRZKHUH Higgins the wildcard!’ And I’m ‘Okay…whatever…’ It was kind of enjoyable to hear all of that!” And yes, maybe he is

the, well, all those things, but there’s no denying the points he racked up at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Smallbore. By the conclu- sion of Day Two of the three-day Trials, Higgins was well back in second place, 11.3 points behind two- time Olympic medalist and ranked-sixth-in-the-world Matt Emmons. “So I was sitting in second and Emmons is up about 11 points and I

kind of thought it’s do- able, but the probability is low,” Higgins said. “I was just like ‘Let’s go in there, crush it, do your best…and you’ll probably come out second. That’s just how it’s going to be, but still go out and give it your all.’ With the possibility of this being the last quad for Prone, I ÀJXUHG WKLV PLJKW EH P\ ODVW Prone match ever since I wasn’t going to be able to shoot Nationals, so this was probably going to be it, so go out and enjoy it. Enjoy Prone. So I just went out there, shot a great match, and then went into the Final just enjoying it. I guess I had DOUHDG\ FRPH LQ ÀUVW EHIRUH the Final, but I didn’t know that going into the Final, so I was like let’s just go enjoy that and crush it. I went in, won the Final – which was great – but honestly, it was after it was all over when I found out that I won. And DW ÀUVW LW ZDVQ·W VR PXFK that I won, it was just great that the match was over because the stress was gone! It was a very stressful match. Three days of that? It’s a very hard selection.” 2Q WKH ÀQDO GD\ RI 4XDOL-

ÀFDWLRQ +LJJLQV KDG VKRW a personal best of 629.5, 12.7 points ahead of Em- mons, who did not qualify for the day three Finals. This left Higgins untouchable en- tering the last Finals of the match and secured him the Olympic Team nomination.



ered his love for shooting ZKHQ KH ZDV IRXU RU ÀYH shooting a BB gun at his grandparent’s house. Once in the eighth grade, he got dialed into the high-power scene in Louisiana and shot high-power matches nearly every weekend with Olympic Development Team member Michael Liuzza. He told Hig- gins if he wanted to shoot in college, he should switch to smallbore and air. Higgins confesses he didn’t really start shooting the inter- national game until about four years ago, but it’s not like he just came out of left ÀHOG«GDQJLW “I was good at high

power. We shoot 600 yards in high power and I loved reading the wind,” Higgins said. “It’s kind of fun if there’s a wind switch and you just catch it, and you’re still shooting tens at such a distance. I was good at reading the wind in high power and in all honestly, it all just came over so natu- rally in smallbore. It’s just kind of cool when there’s wind, you can be a shade off and you’re not pointed at the middle, but the shots are still going in the middle. There’s a lot you can do in Prone. It’s very accurate. I feel like airguns shoot on top of each other so some people might argue that it’s the most precise event in the sport. I argue that it’s Prone because we’re still

trying to put them on top of each other, but there’s a lot more variables that we’re trying to control. I enjoy that aspect of it.” Higgins would eventu-

ally enroll at the Air Force Academy to be coached by Olympic medalists Launi Meili and Mike Anti. “I came [to the Air Force

Academy] because I thought they’re the best coaches in NCAA shooting - still do,” Higgins said. “Now that we’re looking forward to Rio, they’ve been talking about how I should approach it. Coach Meili is big on visualization, having me vi- sualize matches or parts of matches every night in my head before I go to sleep. She’s kind of the fuzzy side of shooting whereas Coach Anti is more the technical side. She’s got me being big on visualization, control- ling emotions, that kind of stuff, whereas Coach Anti is kind of big on making sure the gun is ready to go. 7KH\ NLQG RI ÀOO LQ WKH JDSV with each other very well – how I should approach Rio, and that I should approach these World Cups like practice Olympics. I need to get in my head ‘This is it; this is the match. This is all there is. 60 shots here to- day, whether that’s the Rio World Cup or the Munich World Cup.’” “We’ve got a little bit of

work to do, not just with his training, but he’s an

David Higgins: The Wild Card

By: Jessica Delos Reyes Manager, Media & Public Relations

50 USA Shooting News | May 2016

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