U.S. Army Specialist Wins Silver Medal in Italy

By Michelle LunatoAugust 2, 2023

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Spc. Samantha Simonton, a marksmanship instructor/competitive shooter with the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, won the Silver Medal in Women’s Skeet at the International Shooting Sports Federation World Cup in Lonato, Italy July 8 -17.

This is the second World Cup Silver Medal this year for the Gainesville, Georgia native and as she prepares for Olympic Trials, Simonton said that competing against the best in the world is the best way to prepare for the Paris 2024 Games.

“More international experience on a big stage is always the best preparation.”

The young Soldier, who started shooting international skeet in 2015, says the stress of competition is something every athlete must learn to manage. Some competitions come with more pressure than others and learning to compartmentalize can be very helpful.

For years, Simonton trained as a civilian. However, in 2022 she decided to enlist and join the U.S. Army, with a direct appointment to the USAMU due to her abilities and potential in skeet.

And since becoming a Soldier, Simonton says she can feel a positive difference in how she competes.

“Being here in this environment…I am supported in a way I haven’t been before—a way I’d always wanted. And now that I finally have that, it feels incredibly. I’m so privileged to have this opportunity.”

Going through Army Initial Entry Training was challenging in several ways, but that’s what helped me perform better as an athlete, said Simonton.

“IET immersed me into many mental and physical changes. When improving your mental game, you want to sharpen your sword on all sides. Being in the U.S. Army allows for the theory of ‘stress inoculation’ to be applied each and every day.”

Once you learn to manage your responses to stress and do everything you can in terms of training yourself, success becomes something you ultimately control, explained Simonton.

“So much opportunity is at your fingertips to control your destiny in the AMU.”