Meet the Athlete: Eric Uptagrafft

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (January 31, 2011)

Meet Eric Uptagrafft, a member of the National Rifle Team since 1995. Sergeant First Class Uptagrafft is also a member of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit in Fort Benning, Ga. In 2010, he was part of the three man team, with Matt Emmons and Michael McPhail, that captured the Men’s 50m Prone Team gold medal at the World Championships in Munich, Germany. Individually, he placed seventh in Men’s 50m Prone in Munich as well. Uptagrafft also won the bronze medal at the Beijing World Cup and the silver medal at the World Cup USA in what has become his specialty event—prone. He is gearing up for a top-notch 2011 season, as Olympic selection points are readily available and worth even more this year. Uptagrafft will be making his 2011 competition debut with the Rocky Mountain Rifle Championships in Colorado Springs in early February.

Uptagrafft began shooting as an 11-year-old when he joined the Foresteen Junior Rifle Club in Spokane, Wash. Coach Bill Havercroft helped pave the path to success and instilled fundamentals for consistent tens. In 1995, he graduated Suma Cum Laude from West Virginia University with a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering. Just one short year later, he competed in Men’s 50m Prone at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Ga., and continues to pursue his Olympic dreams, with his sights on 2012. Uptagrafft advises junior shooters to: “Be persistent! I'm certainly not the most naturally talented shooter I know, but I kept working at my shooting long after most of my contemporaries had given up. For whatever reason I was a late-bloomer when it came to shooting success. If I had quit when it got tough earlier in my career I would have never been able to enjoy all the benefits that shooting success can bring. Stick with it. It is worth it!” Uptagrafft is married to National Pistol Team member Sandra Uptagrafft, a member of the U.S. Navy Reserves. USA Shooting would like to wish Sgt. 1st Class Eric Uptagrafft solid tens for 2011!