There was a time when sophomore Ellie Roditis had no interest in shooting guns, but a trip with her youth group in seventh grade changed the path she chose in life.
“I was set on not going. I didn’t like guns,” Roditis said. “I heard there was free food and one of my best friends was going.”
Roditis didn’t plan on shooting a gun during the trip, but would eventually shoot a rifle and an American-style trap.
“I asked for a shotgun for Christmas,” she said.
Roditis grew up in McKenzie, Tennessee, a small town of about 5,500 people. She rode horses and competed in show jumping.
“I was shooting American-style trap for about four years, and then got introduced to Olympic bunker trap by my coach,” she said.
She’s been shooting Olympic bunker trap since her freshman year of high school. Roditis decided to attend UCA because of her coach Kayle Thomas’s familiarity with the university.
Thomas lives in Wooster, Arkansas, which is only about 20 minutes away from campus.
When she was 17, Roditis attended the Italy World Championships for shotgun shooting in Italy in 2015.
“It was really surreal that I got to go at 17 years old to represent the United States as a whole country,” she said. “I was one of three junior women to go and represent the U.S.”
Roditis took home a bronze medal.
Roditis wants to compete in the Olympics in 2020. She has to reunite the U.S. junior team and then forma World Cup team. She would then try to win a quota.
“[A quota] is like your ticket to the Olympics,” Roditis said. ”If the team gets two quotas, the person with the most points will have a spot to go to the Olympics.”
Roditis wants to be an athletic trainer.
“[I want to] shoot for as long as I can and my job will allow it,” she said.
Roditis plans on getting a master’s degree in athletic training. She is also the vice president of the Bear Den, a recognized student organization that promotes school spirit at UCA.
“We put on Homecoming events. We do Welcome Week. We go to every home football game, and we’re trying to get into basketball more,” Roditis said.
“We’re really there just to try to pep the crowd up. For football, we sit on the visitors’ side, right behind the other team’s bench.”
Photo by Waid Rainey.