Pressure? No problem.
Oak Harbor’s Elena Flake performed her best on the biggest stage, recording five personal-best scores in six matches while competing in the USA Shooting Rifle and Pistol National Championships June 25 to July 2 at Fort Benning, Georgia.
As a result, she was named to the Eley High School All-American Air Rifle team.
In addition to her All-American selection, she collected third place and a bronze medal in the junior division of the women’s small bore 50-meter rifle (.22 caliber) prone competition. Her score was also the sixth best among the 70 shooters from all divisions.
“We changed her position and some rifle adjustments” the morning of the match, her father, Lance Flake said. “Everything must have felt good to Elena because she shot a personal best of 612.”
The second day she topped that personal record with a 615.2, good for a total of 1227.2 and a 10.2 average (10.9 is perfect).
In the first round of the 10-meter air rifle (standing) competition, Flake tallied a 408.1, a PR of nearly five points. On day two, she set another personal best, this time recording a 409.2 for a two-day total of 817.3 and a 10.2 average. She finished 14th in the junior division out of 108, 23rd overall out of 128 and fifth in Class A.
Flake’s only non-personal best score came in the final event, the women’s 50-meter, three-position rifle competition (integer scoring, 20 shots while kneeling, prone and standing). Her rifle malfunctioned on a shot that scored a zero. Up to that point, she was on pace for another PR. She finished the competition with a two-day total of 1,104 with 29 bulls-eyes, good for 67th out of 112 (49th among juniors).
“I am very proud of my overall performance,” Elena Flake said. “I know I struggled a bit the last two days, but I still put my best foot forward, and that’s all that matters at this level of competition.”
Flake said going against the top shooters in the country brought the best out of her.
“I had to push myself to give a good representation of who I am as an athlete because of the college coaches watching me throughout the week,” she said.
“To PR in a match, you just have to go in ready to leave it all on the line. I believe I have left enough out there to show that I have the potential to be one of the greats in my sport.”
Out of all the outstanding personal performances, Flake said she is most proud of the results of the first two “because they truly represented who I am as a shooter, and I got the opportunity to show the college coaches how I carry myself and why I have the right to be confident in my abilities as an athlete at this level.”
The 2017 Oak Harbor High School graduate said she will attend Skagit Valley College this fall and eventually transfer to a four-year school “to compete on a college team and begin my journey to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.”
Mara Rouse, a 2016 Oak Harbor High School graduate, also competed at the national championships. In the 50-meter rifle event, Rouse, who now shoots for the University of Texas El Paso, was 49th. In air rifle, she finished 56th among juniors and 72nd overall (second in the High D division). Rouse took 39th among juniors and 55th overall in three-position competition.