A year ago, Alexis Lagan was a rising star on the U.S. shooting scene.
Her star is shining a lot brighter as of Wednesday now that the shooter, who goes by Lexi, has been named to the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team for sport pistol.
Lagan, of Boulder City, Nevada, earned her spot to compete in Tokyo this summer by winning the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Airgun, a two-part process that started in October and wrapped up with competition Tuesday and Wednesday at Fort Benning, Georgia.
She scored 2,332 points across the entire competition, maintaining the lead she held after stage one last December in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She’ll be joined in Tokyo by 2012 Olympian Sandra Uptagrafft, who also held on to her second-place standing this week to finish with 2,298 points. Katelyn Abeln and Nathalia Tobar followed in the standings and will serve as replacement athletes.
Lagan, 27, comes from a family with a background both in police work and the military, and she competed a bit in shooting growing up. However, she didn’t truly get competitive until she started at the University of Utah in 2011.
As a freshman, her father, a firearms training officer with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, encouraged her to go for the pistol marksmanship team at the school. By her senior year she was the national champion in women’s air pistol.
Lagan continued her rise in the sport and in November 2018 had her international breakout at the Championship of the Americas. Competing in Guadalajara, Mexico, she won silver in women’s 10-meter air pistol, then partnered with Nick Mowrer — who also was named to the Olympic team on Wednesday in air pistol — to win the air pistol mixed team event.
The big one, though, was in sport pistol, where Lagan not only won her first international gold medal but also secured a 2020 Olympic quota spot for Team USA in the event.
Uptagrafft, meanwhile, is no stranger to the international scene.
The U.S. Army Reserve staff sergeant, who serves as a medical logistic specialist and is a member of the Army Reserve Marksmanship Program, makes her return to the Olympic Games after competing in 2012.
Uptagrafft finished 28th in both the 10-meter air and 25-meter sport pistol events in London. Although she missed going to the Rio Games in 2016, the Phenix City, Alabama, native competed at her fifth world championships in 2018.
Now 48 years old, Uptagrafft is coming off a gold medal at the Pan American Games Lima 2019, a result that also secured an Olympic quota spot, meaning that both athletes who won the quota spots also won the right to use them.
Sandra’s husband, Eric Uptagrafft, is a two-time U.S. Olympian, having competed in 1996 and 2012.