Sara Rozanski has been shooting competitive National Match Service Rifle since she was a teenager. Having bested many of the ranges across the country, Sara also shot and coached with Team Remington for many years. She still shoots competitively and now works for the CMP at their Taladega Marksmanship Park, often as a coach and clinic instructor. Below are a brief look at some of her accomplishments and her interview…
NRA High Power Championships:
General Hough Trophy, High Ohio Civilian Service Rifle: 1999, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
Volunteer Trophy, High Woman: 2011, 2012
Civilian Club Member’s Trophy, High Civilian Service Rifle: 2012 (2362-84x)
High Woman Service Rifle: 2011 (2325-56x), 2012 (2362-84x)
Appreciation Cup: 2015
U.S.A. Distinguished Rifleman Award: September 2000 (Badge #1445)
President’s Hundred: 2001, 2002, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013
President’s Hundred, High Woman: 2009 (288-7x), 2012 (390-10x)
President’s Hundred / National Trophy Individual / National Trophy Team Aggregate High Overall Women (Aggregate Score:1260-38x)
Creedmoor Cup West Winner: 2014
Creedmoor Cup West Winner, Service Rifle Aggregate.: 2015
1: What was your experience like when starting out in highpower?
My experiences… I’m sure they were quite different than what we have now. I started on the M1A or M14’s. There were very few girls who shot, especially juniors. I was lucky enough to start with a girl at my local club, so I always had an ally, friend and good competition. Most everywhere we shot, people were very friendly. Occasionally a guy a would talk down to you because you were a young, female shooter… We worked hard to prove we belonged and couple compete alongside them (which we did!).
2: Who were your mentors? What do you remember most from these experiences and what still rings true?
Frank Piasecki got me fully started into Highpower. He was a friend’s grandfather, and coached us both for quite a few years. We practiced A LOT in the Summer… like every day. We’d work through our trouble areas as best we could at our 200-yard range. His motto was “The Three D’s” for Determination, Dedication and Desire. If you don’t have those, you won’t succeed!
We also attended DCM Clinics, SAFS and the Marine Corps Junior Clinics at Nationals, where I met Ken Roxburgh. Over the years, Ken taught me how to properly shoot on a team. How to call back adjustments and call shots. I learned to listen and function as a unit with any pair firing member. He taught things like sling discipline, to which I was very very apprehensive to switch – but it works. He ingrained in me the forward elbow position in prone… There’s tons of little things he’s taught me along the way that have made a huge difference. Thought the years, Ken has become like a second dad to me. I’ve been very fortunate to have these mentors and coaches.
3: Can you describe some of your most memorable milestones or breakthroughs? Both starting out… and along the journey to competing nationally.
I’ve competed on a national level practically since I first started! My first year, I started in April at a DCM Match and have never looked back! I shot that Summer in the first week of Nationals (which is now “CMP Week”). The following year, I shot both the CMP and the NRA Championships and have been there every year since. So, to me – it was never a journey to get there. My journey was ensuring that I could get there every year, no matter where I was or what life threw at me.
As far as milestones, so far my biggest achievement has been winning the High Civilian Service Rifle at Nationals in 2012. I am also particularly proud of the Creedmoor Cup West in 2014. I shot a personal best 2400-point aggregate for the overall win. Without having shot much that year and feeling very ill prepared, I had to really rely on my fundamentals and work for it.
A big breakthrough for me was this past Summer at the 2015 NRA National Championships. Over the four days of competition, I only dropped 4-points throughout the 300-yard rapid fire stages (which has always been a struggle for me!).
4: What is your routine to help you stay on top of your best game? Off-Season, Mid-Season and ramping up to bigger matches?
– Practice? YES!
– Dry-Fire? YES!
– Mental? This is a very hard question for me to answer. I’d gotten very lazy with dry-firing and practicing during the almost a year off that I was working for the NRA. I will preach and definitely believe in both practice and dry-firing, especially for standing. Growing up from May to August, I shot literally every day and did very little dry-firing. When I moved, I turned to dry-firing a little more due to lack of places to practice (and having a job!). Through the last 5-7 years, I found for myself – that I need a mixture of practice, dry-fire and shooting matches. Practice alone doesn’t offer things like match conditions, competition and possible “match nerves”. So I guess if you look at it that way, that’s all part of my mental program! In and of itself, my mental program is very lacking and lax!
5: How important is technique, mental program, and equipment in influencing your performance? What is their proportional influence?
To me, once you have the basic equipment – it doesn’t make a difference. I think that having a solid routine is the key: Do everything the same way, every time – until it becomes second nature. Even though I said I have a lax mental program, I have a solid routine from shortly before my relay gets called up all the way through walking off the line after shooting. I am also very hard on myself in regards to expectations. Sometimes what others see as a great performance, I may not.
6: What was the toughest match you’ve ever competed in where you held it together? What was that like?
I’ve already talked about the 2014 Creedmoor Cup West. That really took a lot of concentration. In 2009 I was competing in the National Trophy Individual Match. After the 300-yard rapid fire, there were three of us all very close for the High Female award. I typically do not keep track of scores, but did this day for some reason. 600-yard Slow Fire was where it was going to be decided. When I laid down to shoot, I had to keep that out of my mind and just shoot like I know how. That was a hard win.
7: If you had to choose only ONE answer, what has helped you improve the most towards your goals in highpower?
The “THREE D’s!”
8: Why do you continue to stay involved with highpower?
I like it. I like the people. It’s like a way of life for me.
9: In your experience, what are the benefits to being female as it pertains to highpower?
None, other than there are specific award categories for it – like juniors. You have more to prove than everyone else, including juniors. This was especially the case when I started out in the M14 days.
10: What would you like to talk about that we didn’t cover in the previous questions?
My biggest regret is not finishing all of my Distinguished points with the M14. My Dad told me that he wasn’t going to load anymore .308 ammo, and that if I wanted to shoot – he would load for the AR. After holding out as long as I could, I switched out to the AR15 and got my last 2-points.