POSTED: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 - 8:13pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 - 4:06pm
LOUISIANA — Bayou State native Caitlin Connor has established a name for herself in the world of competitive shotgun shooting. A member of the USA Shooting National Team, Connor is gunning for a spot on the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team.
Born in Natchitoches, but now a proud resident of Winnfield, Connor began shooting when she was 15 as part of the city’s 4-H program. Three years later, she took home her very first international medal from the Minsk World Cup. Now 22, Randy and Rachel Connor’s daughter is in pursuit of her Olympic dreams having moved to the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. As a resident athlete, she lives on-complex among other Olympic and Paralympic athletes and hopefuls pursuing their dreams as well. She trains daily at the International Shooting Center hoping for a chance to represent her country on the world’s biggest stage.
“My experience as a resident athlete at the Olympic Training Center has been filled with the ups and downs normal for any young athlete trying to find his or her place in their sport. The ability to focus on perfecting my abilities, pursue my degree and be introduced to a great group of lifelong friends will no doubt be a career highlight.”
In addition to her preparation and training as an elite-level skeet shooter, Connor attends the Pikes Peak Community College pursuing a degree in Business Administration.
Getting to the top in her event will be no easy task given the depth and expertise that comprises U.S. women’s skeet. Among her biggest competitors is none other than reigning Olympic gold medalist Kim Rhode (El Monte, Calif.) who has medaled in the last five Olympic Games in the skeet and double trap events. In addition, women’s skeet shooting arguably features some of the country’s greatest depth per discipline. With only one Olympic spot up for grabs, the competition is intense while preparation and focus are paramount.
“It’s an honor for me to get to do what I do every day,” said Connor. “To be considered among the nation’s best in my sport has come with tremendous sacrifice on the part of my family and I’m hopeful all the work will pay off with a shot to compete in an Olympic Games someday soon.”
Connor has emerged as a formidable competitor having finished second in the 2012 Olympic Trials process behind Rhode. She also made finals in the Lonato (Italy) World Cup earlier this year and recently finished fourth at a World Cup Finals in Maribor, Slovenia, featuring some of the top skeet talent in the world. She earned her second international medal in 2011 at a World Cup in Sydney, Australia.
Most recently, Connor finished second at the USA Shooting Fall Selection Match in Kerrville, Texas, and is poised to continue her shooting success in 2013.
Connor’s rise to the national level came under the supervision of Coach Brian Brewton of the Clay Wings Shooting Ground in Winnfield. She’s thankful for the opportunities she’s received to the date and for those that have helped her get to this level including her grandmother Elizabeth Barnhill and her USA Shooting family and friends. A proud Bayou Tiger backer, she dreams of coming home one day and graduating from Louisiana State University as she loyally supports the team having proudly decorated her room at the OTC in Purple and Gold.