Junior Hannah Black completes her uniform by fastening her jacket like a corset. She picks up her rifle in a swift movement, disregarding the restraint of the jacket, and sets her balance.
Her hands are steady as she eyes the target, which is the size of a pencil tip.
Time creeps by until the crackle of bullets aimed at the target rings throughout the practice range.
A smile spreads across the coach’s face. Black hit the tip of the target.
Black won first place in 50-meter three-position at the Rifle Selection Match hosted by USA Shooting in the beginning of January. The victory earned her a spot on the U.S. National Team giving her the chance to compete in the World Cup in Changwon, South Korea.
TCU women’s rifle head coach Karen Monez said the combination of Black’s work ethic, competitiveness, and love of the sport is what makes Black a great shooter.
“From the 11 years I have been here at TCU, she is without question one of the hardest working team members I’ve ever had on the team,” Monez said. “She is just relentless.”
Black said she is focusing on the weekly TCU matches to make her sharper.
“A unique thing about shooting is the absence of movement. If you’re nervous and your heart rate is up, you can see it in your shot,” Black said. “That’s what the time in practice and matches are for, to get in the zone, so when you’re in the moment hopefully everything falls into place.”
Black’s competitive edge and joy of beating the boys helped her make a name for herself internationally on the rifle range.
“My dad put my brother and I in a junior program to learn how to shoot,” Black said. “It turned out to be a competitive league. I thought it was cool and I could beat the boys, so I stuck with it.”
Monez said Black is still “shooting better than the boys.”
“Her younger brother shoots for Ohio State University. He is a freshman there,” Monez said. “Of course we have some team rivalry with Ohio State because we’re in the same conference, but now we have the sibling rivalry, which makes it fun.”
Junior teammate Allie Taschuk said Black might be competitive, but she is positive and goofy.
“She is such a great person with a great personality,” Monez said. “She is the perfect teammate and sets an example.”
Black will compete at the World Cup in Changwon, South Korea April 8-16, but she is also aiming for a bigger competition.
“The Olympics is the ultimate goal, but it’s a long journey,” Black said. “The World Cup is just a step in that direction.”