Given her history, Eagle River's Corey Cogdell isn't in a bad place going into this week's U.S. Olympic Trials for trapshooting.
Cogdell, the bronze medalist at the 2008 Beijing Games, will have to come from behind if she is to earn a return trip to the Summer Olympics. The United States can send only one female trapshooter to London, and Cogdell trails the leader by six targets heading into three days of competition in Tucson, Ariz.
But Cogdell, 25, is nothing if not a comeback kid.
At the 2008 U.S. Trials, she rallied from eight targets down to make the Olympic team.
In Beijing, she hit her final five targets in the finals to rally from last place to a share of third place, and then won a four-woman shootout to bring home the bronze medal.
Earlier this year, she hit 94 of her final 95 targets to climb from fifth place to first place at the season's first World Cup competition.
And so she probably isn't panicking as she awaits the first day of action at the Tucson Trap & Skeet Club, where shooters get one day of practice Thursday before competition begins Friday.
"I'm really excited for Trials," Cogdell said in a press release from USA Shooting. "I have been training not just the last couple months for this match, but the last four years. I think it's going to take a very strong performance, shooting very consistently, to make this Olympic team."
She's got that right. The battle for the country's only Olympic berth is already heated: The top five women are separated by eight targets, with 250 more to come before Sunday's finals.
Competition began in September with a meet in Texas. Caitlin Barney Weinheimer of Kerrville, Texas, made the most of her home-range advantage to win. She owns a six-target lead over Cogdell, Kayle Browning of Wooster, Ark., and Kelsey Zauhar of Lakeville, Minn. Browning is the reigning national champion who won a bronze medal at a World Cup event in London earlier this year.
A fifth shooter, Miranda Wilder of Diana, Texas, is eight targets behind Weinheimer and two behind Cogdell and the others.
As the defending bronze medalist, Cogdell was the women's trapshooting representative at an Olympic media event last week in Texas, where top American athletes from just about every Olympic sport gathered. There, she spoke to reporters, posed for photographs and acted as an advocate for shooting sports.
"I'm seeing a lot more kids coming into the sport, especially shotgun shooting," she told reporters. "Kids love to have instant gratification. They're playing video games and watching TV. Well, what's more instantly gratifying than seeing a target explode?"
Reach Beth Bragg at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4335.