Some athletes do their best when it means the most, and that certainly applies to Kiersten Mucha of Lancaster.
The junior was superb at the Section VI rifle championships on Saturday, capturing first place in the offhand portion of the competition and second place in the 3-position portion. That earned Mucha a trip to West Point for the state championships.
She's been consistent and good throughout the season, and now she's a champion in Western New York. Kiersten is our choice for Prep Talk Female Athlete of the Week.
Coach Leif Johnson on Kiersten: "She has been an absolute pleasure to have on the rifle team for the past four years. Everyday she brings a cheerful and positive attitude to the range that emanates throughout the entire team and really helps to create a positive atmosphere. Kiersten is an amazingly dedicated student athlete who perfects and fine tunes everything she does no matter what it is. Based on how well Kiersten has done so far, and the goals she sets for herself, I believe she has a great chance of doing very well at West Point this year.
Tell us about your week: "I placed first in the offhand portion with a score of 290 out of 300, and second in the 3-position portion with a score of 289 out of 300, securing a spot on the section all-star team that will compete in the state championships next week. The end season report showed that I held several of the sectional records for Offhand and 3 Position Air Rifle."
How has your season gone?: "As a team, Lancaster finished in second place this season. Our team set a sectional record against Holland with a score of 1,145."
Highlight of athletic career so far: "So far, it was going to the state championships at West Point Military Academy last year, competing in .22 caliber and air rifle disciplines."
Favorite thing about my sport: "I have tried many sports to find my niche. I could hit well in softball, but with short legs, I would get thrown out at first base. I had good volleyball skills, but at 4'9", the net towered over me. I have the heart of a competitor, but I'm not built for the sports that most of the kids in my neighborhood play. Competitive rifle and archery allow me to use my physical strength and mental concentration to succeed."
Favorite teammate: "I don’t have a favorite teammate. Everyone on my team brings something positive to every practice and every match that pushes me to be my best."
Toughest opponent: "Alden is our toughest opponent. Their talent is very deep, and they bring their best every time they compete."
Pro/college athlete I admire now: "Samantha Brenzel of Tonawanda is a professional archer for Elite Archery and my archery coach. I look up to Samantha because she has the perfect balance of humility and fierce competitiveness. Whether competing on the local or national stage, she is highly respected in the archery community."
When I’m not playing or practicing my sport, I’m: "Outside of competitive rifle, I also compete in target archery. I shoot weekly in local tournaments (mostly against adults) and will be attending the NFAA National Indoor Championships in mid-March. I also am heavily involved in the music department at school. I have been selected for premiere all-county and all-state ensembles on flute. When free time allows, I volunteer at Greenfields Adult Care Facility."
What’s ahead (athletics and/or academics): "I intend to pursue a career as a physician's assistant after completing my senior year. Potential schools include RIT, Daemen and University of Sciences. I may continue shooting rifle competitively in college if the right opportunity presents itself."
This is the final selection of a Prep Talk Female Athlete of the Week for the winter season. We will resume picking outstanding performers in the spring.