TAYLOR MCDANIEL | Reporter
This week’s Student-Athlete Spotlight highlights sophomore shotgun team member Brandon Stone.
Name: Brandon Stone
Nicknames: 99, The Legend, Brando
From: Wylie, Texas
Major: Business Entrepreneurship
Q: When did you start playing your sport?
A: “I started shooting shotguns at the age of 8.”
Q: How did you get started in your sport?
A: “My dad took me and my brother out to the gun club one day with a couple of his buddies. We shot a couple rounds of skeet, and I beat one of my dad’s buddies. I was hooked. We went every weekend, and I started to get better. People at the gun club introduced me to the Scholastic Clay Target program director, and he recommended I start shooting competitively. I quickly became attached to shooting skeet and worked hard to attain my first goal of shooting 25 straight. Then the goals of 50 and 75 straight kept me busy until I ultimately hit the grand goal of 100 straight. It was the most exhilarating feeling to accomplish this goal.”
Q: What is your biggest strength in your sport?
A: “My biggest strength in shooting is my vision and mental focus. I’ve been doing it so long that when I step onto the shooting pad I feel poised, comfortable and confident in my ability. I visualize each target breaking before each shot.”
Q: What was your most embarrassing moment in your sport?
A: “My most embarrassing moment in shooting was walking up to the station without any ammo and not realizing it until I was on the pad ready to shoot. I was the squad leader and supposed to set the example for everyone. Luckily, I only had to run back to the break area to grab my ammo. But, nonetheless, before this mishap I was totally focused and in the zone and not thinking of anything except shooting. I had to quickly refocus and get my mental game back into check.”
Q: Why did you choose to play for Lindenwood?
A: “I chose Lindenwood because they were well known to have the best shooting school in the nation. Since I was a little kid, I watched a few of my friends and my brother attend and shoot for Lindenwood. They were time again and again, back-to-back collegiate national champions, and I wanted to follow in their footsteps.”
Q: What has been your biggest accomplishment in your sport?
A: “My biggest accomplishment is shooting seventh high overall in class at the 2018 World Skeet Competition in San Antonio, Texas, against people of all ages from around the world.”
Q: What do you like most about your sport?
A: “What I love most about shooting is being outside and being able to free my mind of any and all worries. I love the feeling I have when I come off the field knowing it’s been a great day, and I’ve had fun doing what I enjoy.”
Q: Do you have any game day rituals?
A: “Some of my game day rituals consist of drinking a lot of water so my eyes are hydrated. Also, I make myself get in the game by listening to music and/or taking a run just before I shoot to release endorphins and help me relax.”
Q: What are some of your favorite hobbies?
A: “Besides shooting, my favorite hobbies are motocross and go karting. In my free time I love being outside, going to the gym and listening to music.”
Q: Who do you look up to in your sport?
A: “In my sport there are many great shooters. But by far, there is one person that sticks out that I was able to look up to, for a few years anyway, and that was Wayne Mayes. He was one of the best skeet shooters in the history of skeet. He holds many records for the greatest number of 400-by-400 straights. I first met Wayne at the Junior World Skeet shoot in Stockton, California, in 2012. When I moved to Texas in 2013, I realized he was a member at the same gun club. That was short-lived as Wayne passed away shortly thereafter due to a horrible tragedy. I still think about him often and the pointers and tips he gave me.”
Q: What is your favorite sports team?
A: “Arizona Cardinals.”
Q: Who is your favorite athlete?
A: “My favorite athlete is the Arizona Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald. Throughout my elementary and junior high school football days, I looked up to and wanted to be just like Larry Fitzgerald, one of the all-time best wide receivers in the NFL. During football season you will see me still trying to squeeze into my rather small No. 11 Larry Fitzgerald jersey.”
Q: What keeps you motivated?
A: “Setting goals is what keeps me motivated. I have a high achievement motive and strive to attain a goal and then set new goals. I love teaching youngsters how to shoot; that really makes me enjoy my sport so much more. Also, I enjoy giving back to my family, friends and community that helped me become who I am today.”
Q: What are three things you could not live without?
A: “First, I could not live without my phone because it keeps me connected with my friends and family across the country. Second, I could not live without a vehicle because there’s no way I’m going to walk to practice at St. Louis Trap & Skeet three days a week. Third, I could not live without my family because they have supported me all throughout my childhood and through thick and thin.”
Q: If you could have dinner with any three people, who would they be?
Three people I would love to have dinner with would be George Strait, because I’ve always loved his music since I was a little kid. Second would be Chef Gordon Ramsay, because I love a good steak. Third would be Mark Zuckerberg, because I want to own my own business and would enjoy discussing the strategies he used to make Facebook successful.”
Q: What is your favorite quote?
A: “’Process, not outcome’ – Bob Palmer.”
Q: Do you have any advice for young athletes?
A: “Success is series of failures done right. Be positively persistent, and you will achieve success.”
Q: What are your plans after college?
A: “I want to own my own business; possibly general contracting.”