Emily Rust

Sport: Pistol

Age: 22

Year: Fifth-year senior

Hometown: Sagamore Hills, Ohio

Major: Sport industry and marketing

 

Question: So you’re a collegiate pistol athlete, but I know you have shed some other sports to get to this point. I count swimming, track, equestrian — am I missing any?

Answer: That’s correct. I ran track and cross country, swam and did competitive horseback riding.

Q: Let’s go at these one at a time. How long did you run competitively, and do you miss it?

 

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A: I started running in middle school and continued through high school. I was a terrible runner but absolutely loved being a part of the team. Some of my best friends were on those teams and that’s what I miss the most.

Q: What about swimming? Do you ever itch to get back into a pool and bust some laps? What was the worst part about swimming?

A: I swam competitively my junior and senior year of high school. I was a much better swimmer than runner and definitely wish I had started earlier. I miss swimming competitively but still enjoy it for exercise. The worst part about swimming is always the first jump into the pool before the start of practice!

Q: And horses: Do you still get to ride on occasion, even if it’s not competitively?

A: I still ride, but unfortunately not as much as I would like. I showed competitively from 2011 until 2017. After coming to college and joining the pistol team, there wasn’t enough time to do it all. I still have my horse, Rainie, and ride when I can.

Q: Which of these past pursuits do you miss the most?

A: It’s hard to say. All of them have played an important role in developing who I am today. If I had to pick one, it would be riding. Horses have been a huge part of my life for a long time.

Q: How long have you been involved in pistol?

A: I started shooting air pistol in 2011 but didn’t shoot other events until I joined Ohio State. I was introduced to the sport through tetrathlon, a discipline in the United States Pony Clubs in which you ride horses, run, swim and shoot. I competed at the regional, national and international level, culminating with events in Australia in 2014 and Ireland in 2016. I would not be involved in pistol without tetrathlon!

Q: How did pistol become your path to college athletics?

A: I knew at a young age that Ohio State is where I wanted to go to school, but I never expected to be lucky enough to be a student-athlete here. Coming to Columbus was a big adjustment. I went from a three-sport athlete in high school to having nothing to do. I tried a few clubs — swimming, fencing, hunt seat equestrian. In the spring of my freshman year, I learned I would go to Ireland for the 2016 International Tetrathlon Championships. While training for that, I realized that I needed to do something more. When I came back to school in the fall, I joined the Ohio State pistol club. From there I was introduced to the coach and in November 2016 I was officially a walk-on student-athlete.

Q: Do you participate in all disciplines — standard, air and sport — and do you have a favorite?

A: Yes, I shoot all three. My favorite is a toss-up between air and sport. I have a love-hate relationship with air. I love it because it introduced me to shooting, I’ve been doing it the longest, and I’ve been successful at it. I hate it, however, because I’ve also done very poorly. Good days and bad days happen quite frequently for me in air pistol. I’m more consistent in sport, I love challenges and it’s been a lot of fun learning how to shoot sport pistol.

Q: You’ve been part of a couple of national championship teams at Ohio State; are those your favorite memories in your pistol career here?

A: They are definitely part of my favorite memories! Even today, it’s hard for me to believe that I’ve been a part of two championship teams.

Q: Not to get political, but there’s a lot of talk about gun control and the damage that guns cause. As an athlete in a shooting sport, does it bother you to hear that stuff?

A: I always try to educate people. Our sport is so unique and I love being able to share it with others. Most people don’t know it exists or that it’s an Olympic sport. I try my best to teach as many people as I can about it.

Q: On a less-serious note, it seems like the weapons used in competition look like something from a Bond movie rather than traditional guns; are there some weird designs out there?

A: Our guns are designed for competitive shooting so they don’t look like ones you see in movies. They have adjustable sights and triggers, recoil systems and so forth that help us shoot our best. Everyone on the team has their guns customized.

Q: Your hometown area, Sagamore Hills in Summit County, sure seems like a lovely glade of a place: true or false?

A: True. I always love when I get a chance to go home, especially this time of year. The Cuyahoga Valley National Park borders the township and the fall color is amazing.

Q: That’s obviously Cleveland sports territory. How would you rank your allegiances to the Browns, Cavs and Indians?

A: I would probably go with Indians, Cavs, then Browns. I grew up watching all of them with my family. I like baseball a little bit more than basketball so I rank the Indians above the Cavs. And unfortunately, the Browns usually cause nothing but heartbreak so I rank them last. Fingers crossed that this year will be different!

Q: And based on your Twitter feed, you’ve also been a huge fan of Ohio State football since before you moved here. True?

A: Most definitely! I’ve always been a fan of Ohio State football. My dad brought me to my first game when I was 10 years old and that’s when I knew I wanted to come here for college. Watching the Browns play (and lose) all the time was tough, so I always loved watching Ohio State play.

Q: As a fan, what is your all-time best game or moment in Ohio Stadium?

A: The best game I’ve been to is the 2016 OSU-*ichigan game. My recommendation to all Ohio State fans is to attend a game versus TTUN. It’s an experience like nothing else. My favorite moment of every game in the ’Shoe, though, is singing “Carmen Ohio.” It gets me every time.

Q: And as a person, what’s the best thing to ever happen to you inside the Horseshoe?

A: I got engaged! My fiancé proposed to me on the 50-yard line when we were there for our team banquet. We were surrounded by friends and family and it was amazing!

 

rstein@dispatch.com