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Caldwell native competing in Summer Olympics

Sgt. Phillip Jungman will head to Tokyo next month
Updated: Jun. 18, 2021 at 7:02 PM CDT
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CALDWELL, Texas (KBTX) - Nearly two decades ago, Army Sergeant Phillip Jungman stepped on the shooting range at the Brazos County 4-H Sportsman Club.

“I had a kid down the road who was explaining how much fun he was having at the shooting range, so I went out and tried it and fell absolutely in love with it,” said Jungman.

From there, Jungman would take his newfound passion to the next level. He joined international skeet teams competing all across the world.

“It really started to grow once he started to make teams and we made the first trip to the world championship in 2011. After that, he came back and said, ‘That’s what I want to do,’” said Chris Jungman, Phillip’s dad.

Jungman says his Olympian skeet coach Connie Smotek made him see there was much more to the sport.

“I didn’t know that the Olympics was even a thing until I met Connie, and after talking with Connie a little bit is when I figured out it was a thing. And I still didn’t think I would ever get to that level,” said Jungman.

In 2016, Jungman says he secured an alternate position, making him work even harder toward his Olympic goals.

“It was a super upsetting moment and then I decided to do something about it. I felt like I could now contend with the best of the best,” said Jungman.

From there Jungman took on a new challenge, enlisting in the U.S. Army to further his shooting career.

“I joined the Marksmanship Unit and the Marksmanship Unit has four key jobs. Part of one is obvious, which you see me doing right now, competing at national and international matches to show our expertise,” said Jungman.

Finally, in the spring of 2020, he made the dream team.

“I made the Olympic team,” said Jungman.

“It makes me want to cry. It’s one of those feelings that you wait so long for it kind of brings tears to your eyes. You can’t help it,” said Cindy Jungman, Phillip’s mom.

Jungman’s dad says what he’s more proud of is how this sport has shaped his son into the person he is today.

“Getting into the 4-H club, that gave us an opportunity to expose our kids and help build their character traits,” said Chris. “The whole point is not the use of a firearm to accomplish something. We want them to know when to be humble, to know when to be gracious in winning, things like that. To me that development is a big, important thing.”

“I’m just really glad to see him be successful after doing it for so long and knowing it was something that he wanted so bad,” said Cindy.

Jungman, along with seven other USA shooters, will head to Tokyo next month. Until then, Jungman says he’s practicing 40 hours a week preparing for the big show.

“I know I’m capable of winning that gold medal and I’m going to do everything I can to earn it,” said Jungman.

You can follow Jungman’s Olympic journey on Twitter and Instagram.

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