Karsen Kirkpatrick, a 12-year-old Lantana resident, qualified for the 2021 Junior Olympics on Feb. 20.
Karsen won the gold medal and shot the highest score of any competitor in all age groups (up to 20 years old), and is the only person in Texas to automatically qualify for the Junior Olympics in the 10 Meter Air Pistol event.
The event was sanctioned under USA Shooting, the organization that selects the U.S. Olympians for the shooting sports in the Olympics. This sport is unique to other Olympic sports in that it requires the competitors to use every muscle in their body to stay as still as possible. Also, like many other sports, there is a high demand for mental focus.
Karsen trains with her shooting coach on Team Shooting Stars in Carrollton, a USA Shooting certified training facility.
The air pistol event requires the competitors to shoot 60 shots one-handed at a bullseye with a diameter of just 11.5mm from 10 yards away over a 75-minute period.
Karsen first learned to shoot at the age of 10 using a standard .22 caliber pistol. She is now focused on improving mental aspects of her shooting by enlisting mental training from a prior US Olympic shooting gold medalist. She also intends to add the 25m Sport Pistol to her list of events in the future.
Based on Karsen’s win as the Texas State Champion and Jr. Olympic Qualifier, she is now sponsored by a local gun range and by the manufacturer of her Olympic-style pistols. Although she has a few years before college, Karsen hopes to eventually receive a scholarship offer from the Texas A&M University Shooting Team.