Blumberg Off The Bench
Haley Dunn is an Iowa native who grew up on a farm and on her dad's shooting range. By the time she turned 15, she joined the USA Skeet Shooting Team and competed around the world. Dunn has a license plate that says it all.
"It's go for the World Championships gold. The World Cup Finals gold. The Pan Am gold. Generally, all the way around. Go for gold," Dunn said.
Gold is worth its weight. And one can say Dunn knows a lot about waiting. She finished second in the 2004 Olympic Trials. Only three missed shots from an Olympic bid.
"It was kinda disappointing. Hard to think of 'oh my gosh I'm going to have to do this another 4 years'," explained Dunn.
Dunn took her frustration and emptied it back into her performance. At the Pan American Games earlier this month, Haley hung gold around her neck.
"It was pretty overwhelming. The whole experience was. From the day we got there to the day that we left. It was just an awesome experience and it just made it even sweeter to win," Dunn said.
"She surpasses many good shooters. So she's an excellent shooter," said Tyler Schwab, Dunn's skeet coach.
Dunn is on target to graduate from MU in December with a degree in agriculture business.
"Shooting is not only talent. It's your mind game and how you think about things, too," explained Schwab.
"It's all about trying to get yourself in the zone. That's tricky when you have to be able to turn it on and off. Turn it on when I'm on the field, when I'm done turn it off. Rest," Dunn said.
The rest of the time the 22 year old is focused on one target: ending her four year wait for her shot at the Olympics.
"(In) 2004 I came in second by three targets. I was the alternate. So, it's my turn," Dunn said.
"If she wouldn't, it would be a disappointment for her and her friends and everybody, but she can do it. She will do it," Schwab confidently said.
In August, Haley will compete in the first of two Olympic Trials. The US only sends one female skeet shooter to the Olympics. So Haley needs to win the trials to get to the 2008 Olympic Games in China. After the 2008 Olympics, Haley says she'll either move to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado or possibly start a trick shooting show.