Grace Brown got into competitive shooting at an early age, but it wasn't until she started beating the boys that she became hooked.
The freshman early childhood education major from Booneville, Ark., is a member of the University of the Ozarks’ women’s clay target team and one of the top female shooters in the region. She recently won the J1 Division and finished fifth overall at Arkansas Junior Qualifier match in Tillar, Ark. She also helped the Ozarks team take third place in international trap in the Arkansas State Collegiate Shotgun Championship at the same venue.
"My dad first got me involved in shooting when I was pretty young and I hated it at first," said Brown. "But I stuck with it and started getting better and better. When I started going to competitions and beating the boys, that’s when I really started enjoying it."
Brown’s ultimate goal is to make the U.S. Olympic Shooting Team and compete in the Olympics. She is a three-time medalist at the state Junior Olympic Qualifier and just missed out on an automatic qualifying spot in international bunker in this summer’s Junior Olympics in Colorado Springs. She has been selected for the third time to take part in a training program with U.S. Olympic coaches this summer in Colorado.
Ozarks freshman Grace Brown is one of the top female clay target shooters in the region and recently won the J1 Division of the Arkansas Junior Qualifier.
"I feel like I’m improving and progressing toward my goals," Brown said. "I want to do everything I can to become the best I can be and see where it takes me."
Brown, whose mother, Teresa (Fereck) Brown graduated from Ozarks in 1985, said she enrolled at Ozarks primarily because of the University’s emerging shooting sports program.
"I knew it had a great education program and my mother talked really highly of the college, but the shooting program is what sold me on coming here," Brown said. "I love that it’s a small school where I can get a great education and improve myself as a shooter."
Brown said she sees plenty of similarities between shooting and her professional aspiration of becoming a classroom teacher.
"It really takes discipline, focus and dedication to be a good shooter and I think it takes those same things to be a good teacher," Brown said. "I think being involved with competitive shooting will make me a better teacher, and going through the education program here and becoming a teacher can make me a better shooter."
Brown is a leading advocate for the fledgling shooting program at Ozarks.
"Everywhere I go I talk about our program and try to help recruit other shooters to Ozarks," Brown said. "I think it’s neat to be a part of a new, growing program and I’m excited about what the future holds."
Brown and her teammates are competing in the ACUI National Tournament in San Antonio, Texas, this week.