Sagen Maddalena

U.S. Army Spc. and first-time Olympian Sagen Maddalena, who grew up in Groveland, takes a moment to steady her aim while competing during the final round of the women's 50m smallbore rifle event.

U.S. shooter Sagen Maddalena fended off elimination three times to finish fifth overall in the women’s 50m three-position smallbore rifle event at the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday.

The first-time Olympian’s parents, Randy and Susan Maddalena, were watching live on TV from their Groveland home as she faced seven of the world’s other most elite sharpshooters in the final round that began at midnight Saturday.

Randy Maddalena said he’s always been a fan of the Olympics, but never thought he’d know someone who would compete in one.

“It’s like going to the moon to me,” he said. “So to see my daughter, who I’ve watched shoot for I don’t know how many years, is pretty… I don’t have any words for it. It’s off the charts.”

Sagen Maddalena was the lone American to make the final eight after finishing with the second-best score out of 38 competitors in the qualifying round.

The 27-year-old qualified for her first Olympics with the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, which congratulated her in a Facebook post shortly after the event ended about 1 a.m. Pacific Time.

“You represented the Nation so well and we could not be more proud of you!” the unit posted.

Sagen Maddalena was born in Woodland and raised in Groveland, where she grew up on several acres raising livestock and participating in 4-H.

Her grandfather, Greg Moore, is credited with starting her on her path by teaching her about gun safety and competition at 12 years old.

She was part of the Mother Lode Gun Club from 2009 to 2013, then shot for the rifle team at University of Alaska, Fairbanks. She competed in two world championships for USA Shooting in 2014 and 2018 before joining the Army in 2019.

Susan Maddalena said she knows how badly her daughter wanted to make it to the podium and believes that one day she will.

“She thinks this is a journey and considers it a journey,” Susan Maddalena said. “There’s no doubt that she’s got her goals set for the next three years.”

See Tuesday's Union Democrat for complete coverage.

Contact Alex MacLean at or (209) 768-5175.

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