“I was very tired. My brain was very, very tired,” she said. “I had these vivid dreams about spaceships and stuff. So I woke up and I was just very tired.”
It would be hard to prove it by her performance last Saturday on the WVU Rifle Range. Zublasing blistered the field shooting a school record 594 out of 600 in small bore and 599 of 600 in air rifle.
“It was nice,” she said after finishing an incredible small bore round with the record score. “I didn’t very much care about the score, I just felt comfortable about the potential. There was still room for improvement, there were a couple of shots where I knew I could do better.”
She mentally steadied herself during the break between the small bore and air rifle rounds of the match against 11th ranked Murray State. Zublasing said she was “in the moment” rather than “in the zone.”
“When you’re in the zone everything comes easy,” she said. “When you’re in the moment, you really have to work hard.”
Mentally Zublasing felt she was where she needed to be for the air rifle competition. She’d learned from a previous match to not allow herself to get excited and distract from the task at hand. Zublasing said she was able to implore several new techniques she’d worked on in practice in the previous week. Despite her world class shooting stature, Zublasing is a perfectionist and admits there are always more things to learn because a person’s tendencies change even day to day.
The one thing Zublasing didn’t realize as she clicked of bulls-eye after bulls-eye with her air rifle was how physically exhausted she had become.
“I was still thinking right, doing my best and not taking chances,” she said. “The thing is I didn’t take a break all 60 shots so my body was very, very strained and started to vibrate the last 20-shots and I didn’t realize I was getting too tired to control it.”
Amazingly, despite the fatigue, Zublasing had a perfect score with a single shot left to fire.
“It takes up a lot of energy to not let your mind go astray and go into the future and think, ‘Oh I might shoot a perfect score.’” she said. “It takes a lot of energy to keep thoughts in the right direction, to focus on your breathing, and not let your mind wander.”
The mental exhaustion and the physical exhaustion finally caught up with her when she squeezed the day’s final shot. Literally missing the mark by a hair.
“I shot a nine on my last shot, I did as good as I could and it was just not the day to make it 600,” she said.
WVU went on to win the match. Zublasing’s aggregate score of 1193 is also a new school record.
“Petra had an awesome performance,” says Mountaineer coach Jon Hammond. “She shot her smallbore record first. To follow that up with a 599 in air rifle was just fantastic. She doesn’t struggle under pressure at all, but every shot of the match is hard, and to shoot a 600 in air gun is extremely hard. She took two or three holds on the last shot, but it just wasn’t meant to be today.
Zublasing and her WVU teammates travel to Columbus, Ohio this weekend to shoot in the NCAA qualifying match.