Photo courtesy of Nevada Athletics
Junior Greta Ochsner poses with her rifle. Ochsner has been Nevada’s top scorer in the smallbore competition in each match this season.
by Stone Harper
Junior Greta Ochsner is the highest-ranked player on Nevada’s rifle team. This season Ochsner has been the team’s high scorer in both smallbore and air rifle, in every match sans for one. However her journey to rifle prominence began in a peculiar place: middle school.
“I got into rifle at the beginning of my eighth grade year, through 4-H,” Ochsner said. “They had rifle as one of the projects you could participate in, and I started doing that.”
Even though she started doing rifle she wasn’t sure if she was going to stick with the sport.
“To be honest, I wasn’t sold on it at first,” Ochsner said. “I was really athletic and I ran track and did all that kind of stuff, so standing there with a gun was not very exciting.”
Then, after a while, she became sold on the idea that rifle was going to be her sport.
“I got really competitive,” Ochsner said. “I just found myself wanting to do better and better and it just kind of went from there.”
She was a natural at the sport. At Visions in Education Charter School in Carmichael, California she was able to win the California State Championships as a sophomore in 2010, only two years into her rifle career. Her success grew as she won two more state titles as a junior and senior in 2011 and 2012, respectively.
Career at Nevada
After her high school career ended, Ochsner had a choice to make in regards to where she would compete in college. Although she had the option to go far away from home, she decided to make the journey over the Sierras to compete in Nevada. There were two main reasons why she decided to represent the Wolf Pack: the first was the close proximity to her hometown of Sutter, California, and the second was because of the relationship she formed with long time head coach Fred Harvey.
“I had met coach Harvey a few times, and I really liked his attitude. And from what I saw I really liked the way he interacted with his team.” said Ochsner.
Her success has grown since being at Nevada. Ochsner was named Nevada’s team captain for the first time this year and, last season, she competed in the National Junior Olympic Championships, where she placed 11th in the 50 meter three position smallbore, and 42nd in the 10 meter air rifle.
Putting the student in student athlete
Not only has Ochsner put in a lot of hard work on the range: she excels in the classroom as well. As a journalism major and art minor she has maintained good grades and was recognized by the Collegiate Rifle Coaches Association as an academic All-American by maintaining a grade point average at or above a 3.2 last season. She doesn’t just look at academics as a burden; she looks at it as something that can be fun. Ochsner frequently does art projects to relieve stress. Harvey, who has seen a lot of talent come through Nevada, sees what makes Greta such a special talented athlete.
“Greta is a great team captain and scholar,” Harvey said. “Her team comes first and she is a natural leader.”
Just a typical college kid
In addition to being a big contributor on the team, she has many hobbies off of the range. According to her, she is a pretty normal girl who enjoys the same stuff that any normal junior in college would enjoy. She likes reading, thrift store shopping and even called herself a “nerd.” Ochsner also has a love for music citing “Abbey Road” by The Beatles as her favorite album. She also has a passion for playing music as well. See has played the piano for quite some time and still plays occasionally.
Even though Ochsner will always be known as an athlete she is just a normal college kid who enjoys the same things that a lot of other people enjoy. When she’s not focusing on putting up a good score in competition she likes to wind down by watching “Sherlock” on Netflix or reading her favorite book “A Tale of Two Cities.”
When comparing Greta as an eighth grader, not even knowing if she was going to like rifle, to where she is now, with an attention to detail and an ability to demand excellence on the range and in the classroom, the transformation is undeniable. Her attention to detail is a skill she can use later on in life to succeed.
“She has attention to detail,” Harvey said. “Discipline and anticipates the needs of the team and plans accordingly.”
Stone Harper can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org