Islander Ryann Phillips ’26 Vies for Spot on 2024 Summer Olympics Team

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Islander Ryann Phillips ’26 has earned a spot on the USA National Open Team for Trap Shooting and will be competing internationally this spring to win a spot in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. Phillips’ specialty of trap shooting is a sport that involves shooting at flying clay targets from different angles with a shotgun.

According to the International Shooting Sport Federation, Phillips currently ranks 31st in the world and third in the nation in her sport.

“It’s taken me years to get to this point in my athletic career,” Phillips said. “If you really want something, you have to go for it. For me, that means balancing college and my sport and doing my best to excel in both.”

Phillips says her longing for a supportive campus community is what led her to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi where she is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Communication.

“One thing I can say for sure is that I’ve found my people at TAMU-CC,” Phillips said. “Everyone I’ve met has been so nice and helpful. From the faculty to staff, everyone makes me feel like they care about me as a person. Having that kind of support as a student and athlete is invaluable to my success in the classroom and beyond.”

To balance her curriculum and involvement with the USA National Open Team, Phillips must heavily communicate and plan with her professors ahead of scheduled competitions, and often complete assignments before their due date.

Dr. Diana Ivy, TAMU-CC Professor of Communication, said Phillips shines just as bright in the classroom as she does in competition.

“Ryann is very bright and articulate,” Ivy said. “I see her discipline as a student and athlete come through her schoolwork. We’ve had some good talks about where she’s competed, how she trains, and her background in shooting. I think she’s fascinating and I’m definitely on ‘Team Ryann.’”

Phillips, who is from the small town of Gail, Texas, began her trap shooting journey in the third grade after she was introduced to the sport by her mother, who previously trained in the sport.

“I’m an only child so it’s always been just me and my mom through it all,” Phillips said. “No matter what was happening in my mom’s life, she took me to every practice, paid for every piece of equipment, and made sure I had what I needed to succeed. She traveled with me this year to Italy and teared up seeing me compete. I don’t think either of us ever knew what the future was going to be, but we’re both proud to be where we are today.”

Phillips has come a long way from her days as a young child competing in small 4-H tournaments around Texas. As a member of Team USA, she has traveled across the globe to countries including Croatia, Egypt, Germany, Italy, and Peru.

“When you play internationally, you’re representing your country and you’re playing against previous gold-medal Olympians who have been doing this for as long as I’ve been alive,” Phillips said. “It’s stressful, but also exciting.”

Phillips participated in first-round Olympic trials in May 2023 in Michigan. During the event, she placed third overall and first in the junior division. Second-round Olympic trials will take place this March in Tucson, Arizona, and will determine who will be chosen for the 2024 USA Olympic team.

Since TAMU-CC does not have a trap shoot team, Phillips does her best to take advantage of her free time on the weekends to travel to the nearest training practice range, located at Kerrville, about 200 miles from campus.

“When you take on a dream like this, it’s definitely a labor of love,” Phillips said. “When I first began shooting as a kid, I almost gave it up, but then I tried again and as my mom says — I came back with a vengeance. I am incredibly proud and excited to have the chance to represent my country and this university on the world’s stage.”