Sports

Local high schooler shoots her way to the top

Marisca Mozeleski shoots at the state air rifle competition in Eastern Washington on Dec. 4.  - Courtesy Photo
Marisca Mozeleski shoots at the state air rifle competition in Eastern Washington on Dec. 4.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

When Islander Marisca Mozeleski’s uncle took her and her family shooting a few years ago, she thought it was fun, but had no idea she would one day shoot competitively.

Mozeleski, now 18, recently placed first in the state air rifle competition in Eastern Washington, qualifying her to shoot at the National Junior Olympics this spring.

Mozeleski said she was thrilled to beat the handful of female shooters at the event on Saturday, Dec. 4. And though the boys are scored differently, shooting 60 rounds while the girls shoot only 40, Mozeleski said if one compared the first 40 shots of all the shooters, she beat the approximately 25 boys who competed as well.

“I was just really excited,” she said. “All the hard work I’ve put into practice and training and it payed off. It was very exhilarating to see my score above the men’s.”

Mozeleski began taking shooting seriously after an injury in late 2008 prevented her from continuing to participate in crew.

“I went back to shooting camp that summer. I remembered how much I liked it and started to practice regularly,” she said. “After that I never looked back.”

Mozeleski now practices two days a week, usually at a range in West Seattle, and will practice five days a week during the summer.

She said shooting requires a great amount of focus, and she sometimes struggles with nerves when she gets to competition. Thankfully, she said, she was able to overcome them when it mattered the most.

“I managed to calm myself down, give myself a bit of a pep talk,” she said. “I felt really good going into it, and I performed extremely well.”

Mozeleski will head to Colorado Springs sometime in the spring for a training camp. During the Junior Olympics, in the same place, she will see how she stacks up against the best young shooters in the country.

She hopes to one day compete in the Olympics. “That’s a long-term goal of mine,” she said.

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