Arriving in Colorado Springs last week, Pelly Crossings’ Danielle Marcotte received some rather presumptuous advice.
“It was my first world cup and I wasn’t really sure how big it was,” said Marcotte. “Because I was the only junior out of the 100 people who competed (in my division), they said you won’t make top eight, so just shoot as if it’s a practice.”
Taking aim at the 2009 USA Shooting Winter Airgun Championships, which hosted 260 rifle and pistol airgun shooters from the US plus 40 more from 11 countries from around the world, Marcotte, 16, made the top five.
“Danielle could have turned around backwards, pointed the pistol behind her and she would have done fine,” said Darcy Marcotte, Danielle’s coach and father. “She did awesome.”
Competing in the junior women’s 10-metre air pistol event, Marcotte ended the three-day shoot with the highest score in her division and second out of all junior categories..
“There were three days of competition, I am used to one or two, so I think that just wore me out,” said Marcotte. “That was like four days of shooting, with practice the first day.
“Usually I can tell when I’m worn out because I start shooting really fast.”
The highpoint for Marcotte came on the second day of competition, setting her first personal best score in competition since shooting in Brazil in 2007. She moved up from 376 to 378 (out of a possible 400), producing the second highest score of all women that day.
“You can have a personal best in practice, with no pressure, as much time as you want,” said Marcotte. “Usually in competition your score drops because of pressure, time and other things can go wrong – you’re nervous.”
As thrilled with her results as she and her father were, Marcotte found the first two days of shooting to be more frustrating than anything.
During a practice session the day before the start of the championships, Marcotte encountered difficulties with her sights and also had a bad time with an electronic target system, in which you see a computerized representation of where each shot hit the target.
“I never really liked those because I’m just paranoid that they’re not giving me the right score,” said Marcotte, who prefers old fashioned paper targets. “My target actually broke, so I didn’t get to sight my shots. And I couldn’t shoot anymore because it was during a practice and you couldn’t call a ceasefire to go check the target, because it wouldn’t be fair to all the other shooters.
“So I switched to a paper target, but I was just so mad my shots were going all over.
“Because I was mad about the targets, I turned my sights the wrong way, which made my shots go more to the right.”
Marcotte ended the first day of shooting with a score of 366, up from the 355 she had to shoot each day to qualify for another world cup event in Guatemala, which could gain her entry into the first ever Youth Olympics Games being held next August in Singapore.
“Now that I shot my MQS (match qualifying score) three days in a row, now I get to go to Guatemala,” said Marcotte. “There, they’ll pick the top Canadian, which is me, to go to Singapore. That’s why this competition was so important.
“Three, fifty-five isn’t a big score, but when you have nerves and knowing what losing that match would mean – not going to Mexico or Singapore, two places I’ve never been – that can stay in the back of your head and things could happen.”
After taking some time off, Marcotte will be in action in February at the Grand Prix Airgun Championships in Toronto, where she took first in the junior women’s 10-metre pistol division the last two years.
More recently, Marcotte, a sergeant in the Junior Rangers, won the Top Shot title at the Junior Ranger Regional Air Rifle Championship two weeks ago in Yellowknife, NWT, shooting a 295 out of 310. She also finished second in a first-ever national Junior Rangers shoot in Labrador at the end of May. The next month, competing in her first .22-calibre competition, the 2009 Alberta Provincial Handgun Championship, she won gold in the junior women’s 25-metre sport pistol event.
At the Canadian National Pistol Championships in Calgary in August, Marcotte won two gold medals in the 25-metre sport pistol and the 10-metre air pistol, both in junior divisions.
No stranger to success at the event, Marcotte won gold in 2007 and silver in 2008 for the 10-metre air pistol at the championships.
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