For one UCA student, an Olympic journey has taken her around the world in hopes of medaling.
Senior Kayle Browning is a contender for the 2016 Summer Olympics team in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil as a sporting clay shooter.
Browning said being a national champion and an Olympic contender has always been a goal of hers.
“It is so surreal seeing the [Sochi] Winter Olympics right now,” she said. “I get emotional watching it. These athletes have worked so hard and knowing I will have that experience that they are having right now, just tell me that this hard work is paying off.”
Browning’s passion for the 2016 Olympics can be seen through the Olympic rings on the gate leading to her house.
Browning recently had a laurel wreath tattooed on her wrist and said she is waiting to fill it in with the rings.
According to her website, Browning’s dad put a gun in her hands when she was just four years old.
He set up coke bottles and let her shoot them with her BB gun in their yard in her hometown, Wooster.
Browning began shooting in competitions at eight years old.
Her dad is also an avid sporting clay shooter and has been on national and world teams.
Browning started her career when she made the open All-American Team at 12 years old.
She trains for the 2016 Olympics while studying interior design at UCA and is taking one class this semester.
“My morning starts off by practicing at 7:30 a.m. and then while taking breaks I have my online classes,” Browning said.
Browning said being an Olympic contender is harder for a student.
“I have to teach myself the material through my online classes,” she said. “But being a student and training pays off because it is self-discipline with the homework that I have and for the shooting.”
While Browning does her UCA schoolwork, she is building the foundation for a shooting program at UCA.
“I think having a shooting team at UCA would be awesome and such a privilege to be a part of a collegiate team and an Olympian team,” Browning said.
Browning has been a part of teams such as the Shotgun Junior Olympic Team, National Championship Team and World Championship Team.
Browning has won a bronze medal at the National Junior Olympic Championship, is a 2010 National Championship Junior Gold Medalist, 2009 World Championship Team Bronze Medalist, 2012 World Cup London Bronze Medalist and 2011 Pan American Games Bronze Medalist.
Browning was also awarded the New National Record at the 2011 National Championship, crowned the National Champion in Women’s Trap and was an alternate in the 2012 Olympics.
Browning said her family has always been her support system.
“They have always been involved in shooting, but for me, I have taken it to the next level,” she said.
Browning’s family members aren’t the only ones that are excited for her new chapter in life.
Browning’s friend and classmate sophomore Halie Grooms said, “I think it’s amazing that she is in the running to be in the Olympics. Shooting is a true passion of hers and it is something that she has worked on very hard.”
Browning has traveled all over the world competing and training, including places such as Puerto Rico, Germany, Italy, San Marino, Slovenia and England.
“When going overseas, it is exciting but it is my job and I have to keep it a priority,” she said.
Browning and two men have been selected as contenders in the 2016 Olympics. The team will be announced next year.
More information can be found on her website: kaylebrowning.com.