U of U shooter wins national championship despite pistol malfunction

Posted at 10:08 PM, Mar 30, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-31 10:02:51-04

SALT LAKE CITY – A shooter studying in Salt Lake City is setting her sights high, and her precision recently placed her at the top of a national competition.

Alexis Lagan is on the University of Utah’s pistol shooting team, and she recently won the Individual Women’s Aggregate at the 2014 NRA Intercollegiate Pistol Championships in dramatic fashion.

Her coach, Elwood Powell, said Lagan’s pistol failed to fire properly during the competition, which resulted in a score of zero for that shot. Lagan overcame the struggle that zero presented.

"Just a phenomenal, phenomenal performance,” Powell said. “You rarely see something like that take place, where someone who takes a zero ends up winning the event, and in this case, the national championship.”

Lagan also placed third in the overall individuals aggregate.

“She did remarkably well,” Powell said. “Most of the shots were tens or better.”

Lagan said she trains her body and mind in order to hit her targets.

“You need to keep a sharp mind, you always have to be working on puzzle problems,” she said. “I’m a physics major, so I’m doing a lot of math, a lot of focus activities.”

Lagan practiced for about 10 hours each week at the range, and she spent an additional five hours practicing on her focus and exercising.

“You need to be physically fit, if you cannot control your heart rate, if you cannot control your muscle twitches and basic motor action, then it is very hard for you to be good at keeping a sight aligned and shooting at your target,” she said.

Lagan said she hopes to continue to improve her scores and earn a place on the collegiate national team, so she can travel to Korea for a shot at an international title.