Grinnell places sixth at U.S. Olympic skeet trials

lallam Tribe member from Port Angeles, placed sixth in the nation at the 2008 U.S. Women’s Skeet Shooting Olympic Team Trials outside San Antonio, Texas, last week.

The performance saw Grinnell earn the top score among junior shooters.

“I went in eighth (overall) and that’s where I usually stay, so I wasn’t really expecting to move up any,” Grinnell says. “I was really just ecstatic when I found that out.”

Three-time Olympic medalist Kim Rhode, of El Monte Calif., took first place and will represent the U.S. in the Beijing Olympics skeet shooting competition. Only one woman represents the U.S. in this event.

Grinnell says her participation in the Olympic trials was an important experience; her ranking this spring places her in a prime position to make the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

“I’m still looking to go on to shoot in college. My plans are based on what competitions are going on at that time,” Grinnell says, noting the University of Colorado is quite close to the U.S. training center in Colorado Springs.

To qualify for the Olympic trials, participants already must have competed on the national team. At the 2007 World Clay Target Championships in Nicosia, Cyprus, last fall, Grinnell and two of her national teammates took the team silver medal, only behind a Russian team that set a world record.

The youngest shooter on the National Development Team, Grinnell already is outshooting her college-aged teammates.

Grinnell, a sophomore at Port Angeles High School, has been shooting since the age of 12. She is coached by Sequim’s Matt Dryke, 10-time national champion and the only U.S. Olympic gold medalist in men’s skeet shooting (1984 in Los Angeles), and his father, Chuck Dryke, at their Sunnydell Shooting Grounds in Agnew.

Dryke says he believes Grinnell has what it takes to be an Olympic champion.

“Her competitions over the next several years will build her consistency and confidence,” Dryke says.

“I’ve participated in other sports,” Grinnell says,” but there is no thrill for me like being up there with five other people, waiting for the target to emerge — you have zero control and you have to work on instinct. You compete against yourself but you have to keep your mind clear. If you get mad, you’ll miss the next one. You can’t carry any baggage out there with you.”

Grinnell is the daughter of Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Council member Kurt Grinnell and his wife, Terri, and Michele Hayman and her husband, Doug, all of Port Angeles.

She is a granddaughter of storyteller Elaine Grinnell, 2008 recipient of the Washington Governor’s Heritage Award.

Grinnell’s skeet shooting record

2008 U.S. Olympic Skeet Trials (Texas), 6th overall

2007 World Clay Target Championship in Cyprus, 2nd Team, 9th Jr. overall, 31st overall

2007 Spring Selection (Texas) and 2006 Fall Selection (Colo.): 3rd Jr. in 500 targets to qualify for the USA Championship Team at Nicosia, Cyprus)

2007 Nationals at Olympic Shooting Grounds, Colo.: 6th in Jr. Women, 2nd in B Class (age 14-18)

2007 Jr. Olympics: 5th Women’s overall, 1st in J2 Class (age 14-17)

2007 Inter Service Competition at Fort Benning, Ga.: 3rd overall

2006, 2007 Washington State, Overall Skeet Champion (men and women)

2006 Nationals: 5th Jr. overall, 1st J2 Class (age 14-17)

2006 Jr. Olympics: 4th Jr. overall; 1st J2 (14-17)

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