Alaskans in the games

Anchorage Daily NewsJuly 28, 2012 

United States of America's Jamie Lynn Gray reacts during the women's 10-meter air rifle final at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 28, 2012, in London.


When trapshooter Corey Cogdell of Eagle River takes aim at another Olympic medal this week, it will be midnight in Alaska, and no shortage of people will be up watching.

"She's got a lot of friends in the shooting community up here," said Neil Moss, the state adviser for Alaska's Scholastic Clay Target Program. "They're all looking at her, thinking, 'There's a little piece of me there too. I gave her a tip on how to shoot that target.' ''

That's the thing about Alaska's Olympians. So many of us have real connections to them.

Scores of shotgun enthusiasts know Cogdell, including kids in the youth program Moss runs. Cogdell has let them wear her bronze medal from Beijing and autographed clay targets for them.

Plenty of Alaska high school graduates nearing their 10-year high school reunions remember Fairbanks-raised long jumper Janay DeLoach, a 2003 Eielson High grad who is among the medal favorites. Some might have trailed her across the finish line in the sprint races at track meets. Others might have been burned by her speed on the basketball court.

As for Matt Emmons and Jamie (Beyerle) Gray, they gave Fairbanks plenty to cheer for as members of UAF's powerhouse rifle team. Emmons was a four-time NCAA individual champion for the Nanooks, Gray won two and together they helped UAF capture six national team championships.

It's a contingent that's small in numbers but long on talent. And it comes with some of those stories that, in true Olympic fashion, will melt your heart and swell your chest.

Reach Beth Bragg at or 257-4335.

Janay DeLoach

FROM: Fairbanks

SPORT: Women's long jump

COMPETITION DATES: Tuesday and Wednesday, Aug. 7-8. Qualifying at 10:05 a.m. Aug. 7, finals at 11:05 a.m. Aug. 8.

ALASKA CONNECTION: Multi-sport star at Eielson High in Fairbanks, where she graduated in 2003. Still owns the Alaska high school long jump record of 19 feet, 5 inches. Competed in college for Colorado State and lives in Fort Collins, Colo.

CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Silver medal at the world indoor track championships earlier this year. This is her first Olympics.

Corey Cogdell

FROM: Eagle River

SPORT: Women's trapshoot

COMPETITION DATE: Saturday, Aug. 4. Qualifying at midnight ADT; finals at 6 a.m.

ALASKA CONNECTION: Born in Palmer, raised in Chickaloon and Eagle River, home-schooled in Eagle River by her parents. Still considers Alaska home, although she must live in Colorado to be near her coaches and shooting range.

CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Bronze medal in women's trapshoot at the 2008 Summer Olympics. This is her second Olympics.

Matt Emmons

FROM: Fairbanks

SPORT: Men's 50-meter prone and 3-position rifle (two events)

COMPETITION DATES: 50-meter prone, Friday, Aug. 3; qualifying at midnight, finals at 3 a.m. 3-position, Monday, Aug. 6; qualifying at midnight, finals at 4:45 a.m.

ALASKA CONNECTION: Competed for UAF's nationally ranked riflery team.

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Gold medal in 50-meter prone at the 2004 Summer Olympics; silver medal in the 50-meter prone at the 2008 Summer Olympics. This is his third Olympics.

Jamie (Beyerle) Gray

FROM: Fairbanks

SPORT: Women's air rifle and 3-position rifle (two events)

COMPETITION DATES: Three-position rifle, Saturday, Aug. 4, qualifying at midnight, finals at 3:45 a.m.

ALASKA CONNECTION: Competed for UAF's nationally ranked riflery team.

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Fourth-place in air rifle and fifth-place in 3-position rifle at the 2008 Summer Olympics. This is her second Olympics.

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