Finals Trap Women

Spotlight on Youth - Carroll: the only Olympic shooter in town

ISSF World Cup Rifle / Pistol / Shotgun · Granada, ESP

There are no olympic shooters but Ashley Carroll in Solvang, California. She started because of her father, and then travelled the world for competitions. But none of her trips were like Granada: last-minute inconveniences and first-time results.

Shooting is not really popular in Solvang, hometown of Ashley Carroll, the 18-year old US shooter 5th placed at yesterday's Trap Women final.

Where's Solvang? “It's a little Danish town in California,” as the first-time ISSF finalist Carrol described it.

Such a little town (5,245 inhabitants, founded by settlers from Denmark 102 years ago), that the 18-year-old Carroll became the one and only olympic shooter out there. With proud: “There's a bunch of people doing American Trap, - Ashley explained - but I prefer the Olympic discipline. It's a lot more fun: every practice and competition is a new challenge!”

She's got no doubts about that, but it all comes from her father Charlie: he used to do American Trap, till he went to a camp in Colorado Springs where he did a coaching class for Olympic Trap. He liked it so much that he started going to a league shooting night at the Sportsman's Club – being accompanied by her daughter Ashley - and that's when she first got involved: Carroll was just 7 at the time, but already laying down the basis for her path to become the only shooter of Solvang. Not without obstacles in her way: Ashley had to go to either Sacramento or Los Angeles just to train, since there were no Olympic Trap ranges where she lived, in Solvang.


Later on, Ashley's hard work paid off, bringing her far away from her tiny hometown. After the bronze medal at the 2009 Shotgun National Junior Olympics in Colorado Springs, Co., Ashley started traveling oversea to take part in several ISSF World Cup stages: she went to Italy, Germany (Lonato and Munich 2010), Serbia (Belgrade 2011) and Mexico (Acapulco 2013) – even if not getting any medals.

Flight after flight, Ashley piled up quite a good number of miles – as befits every good American. But this last World Cup trip to Granada – Ashley's first one to Spain – gave the young traveler a new unpredicted situation to face. As she had made it to the shooting range, something was missing. Quite an important job tool, in very truth: her shotgun had got lost in some airport.
“It's the first time I lose all my luggage!” - laughed about it Ashley, who had a pretty bizarre journey: “I almost missed my connecting flight and my shotgun didn't get shipped, then it got shipped 2 days later but, eventually, it got stuck again. Finally, it got shipped!!!”

A little challenging, but it all worked out anyway,” as Ashley said - in spite of 4 days without her shotgun (she only had it back one day before the match). She stayed focused, and got to the first competition day in a great shape - performing a brilliant score in the in the Trap qualification round (shooting in a range she loves): 72 hits out of 75 targets. But that wasn't enough: three other shooters (Stefecekova, Rooney and Balogh) had reached that score; 4 shooters tied, but just 3 places for the semifinal. A shoot-off broke made the decision: Balogh out, the rest in (Ashley Carroll included).

Ashley – at her debut in an ISSF final round – fought neck and neck for 4th place with her teammate Corey Cogdell (2008 Olympic Bronze), but in the end couldn't make it to the bronze medal match, closing the round in 5th.

I'm a little disappointed, – Carroll said after the game – but I'm happy with how I shot. I've learned a lot here, and that will help me to improve myself.”


The very immediate future will give the US shooter the chance to get even: September, Lima, Peru, ISSF World Championship. Ashley will be there and her goal is clear: “I hope to get into the Top-6 again and beat my last score.”
Hopefully – besides the results - Carroll's flight to South America will be luckier than the one which brought her Spain. In the meanwhile, Ashley will be back in Solvang - to do what she's always done: the only shooter in town. A successful one, actually.


Alessandro Ceschi


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