Lena Miculek Carves Way Through Competitive Shooting World

by
posted on April 19, 2018
lena_miculek_2018-2.jpg

Lena Miculek comes from a shooting dynasty; but that hasn’t stopped her from making a name for herself in her own right. The daughter of famed competitive shooters Jerry and Kay Miculek, she has dominated competitions among a string of shooting styles. Miculek boasts seven world titles in five different shooting disciplines, no easy feat in a competition landscape steeped with shooters who spend years focusing on just one style.

Lena Miculek | USPSA stage at NRA World Shooting Championship
Shooting the USPSA stage at the 2017 NRA World Shooting Championship.


The adventurous and bubbly Miculek takes it all in stride, though, energized by the constant change of pace and excitement that each day of practice and competition brings.

“I have the freedom to pick and choose,” said Miculek. “I like to do everything which can be kind of a downside because I usually get overwhelmed with how many different things I have to practice; but it’s an upside because it’s more challenging for me to not specialize in anything.”

Lena Miculek and Cole McCulloch
Receiving a prize check from NRA Competitive Shooting Division Director Cole McCulloch.


Miculek adopted her frenetic schedule as a youngster. At the age of eight she entered into the competitive shooting world, plinking away at Steel Challenge matches, and by 15 she was taking on 3-Gun. Now, she takes home gold medals in an array of matches, peppering her calendar with both routine competitions and new challenges each year.

The journey to elite competitor wasn’t all smooth sailing, though. Miculek recalls failing her first several competitions, describing the tumultuous time as a “train-wreck.”

“The first year I started competing, fiercely competing, in 3-Gun I was so bad. I mean I was just terrible,” Miculek explained. “The first year I competed in about 26 major matches. I sucked at all of them, until finally at one of the last matches of the year, my mom sat me down mid-match with one stage to go.”

Lena Miculek | NRA World Shooting Championship Rimfire stage
Rimfire shooting at the NRA World Shooting Championship.


It was then that Kay Miculek dropped pearls of wisdom onto her young daughter. Sensing the mounting frustration, her mother advised her to lose all expectations of what each stage or match should be and instead focus on performing in the moment. Take it one shot a time. With nothing left to lose, Miculek stepped back up to the starting block, her mind focused solely on her first shot. That “a-ha” moment made its mark on the young Miculek, who went on to place 14th overall in that competition. Her mother’s advice still resonates with her years later.

“Shooting is such a mental game,” she said. “I finally figured out how to literally take every shot one at a time so I didn’t feel overwhelmed or have that rushed feeling. Time is a by-product of what I’m doing so I can't even think about it. If I’m thinking about that and I’m not thinking about shooting, it all falls apart.”

Lena Miculek and a fan
Posing for a photo with a fan.


Though her mother’s words guided her through her early competitions, Miculek says her father has always been close by to offer his own take on success. Despite the fame, Miculek says her father has always remained humble, choosing to adopt an open mind constantly yearning for more knowledge. This quality he passed on to his daughter.

“My dad’s entire life motto, which sounds very much like my dad, is don’t get big head. Which sounds really weird, but it means the instant that you think you know how to do something you stop learning and you stop looking for a better way to do it,” Miculek expounded. “Every time I go on the range to practice, it’s assuming that everything I am doing is wrong and that there’s a better way. Every day it’s like what can I do different? I’m standing wrong, I’m holding the gun wrong, or doing this wrong and trying to find a better way.”

Lena Miculek with Sig Sauer, Mossberg jerseys
“Everything I do, all the time I spend practicing and training is pointless unless I can share all I learn. To me, that is what being a true professional means.”


This constant process of modifying bits and pieces leads Miculek to regularly take classes. It’s here, she says, shooters of all varieties and levels learn how to improve.

“I always suggest classes,” said Miculek. “I’m a class taker on everything else in my life. I want someone who knows what they're doing who’s already figured it all out to help me. It saves money and time and you walk away with a lot more.”

Lena Miculek and pistol
Her next challenge: to master competitive pistol shooting.


Miculek is already knee-deep in 2018, this year focusing on Steel Challenge. Though she’s popping steel targets, her eye is always on the bigger goal—to have an individual world title in all three disciplines. She’s already accomplished an individual gold in rifle and one in shotgun, but it is pistol shooting that has proved elusive. She points to the time-consuming dedication it takes to become a gold medal pistol shooter.

“To make a big splash in pistol, you have to be a specialist. You have to spend a couple of years doing only that, which terrifies me. Pistol is my least favorite,” she said. “But that’s my long term goal. I want to do that.”

Lena Miculek
Expect more to come in the future from this talented shooter.


It’s her passion for competition and shooting that is evident in the way she speaks and competes.

“Everyone just wants to grow and share what they love in this sport,” she commented.

It’s the love of the sport that keeps competitors, like Miculek, coming back year after year, title after title, always seeking more.

Follow Lena Miculek on Instagram: @lena_miculek

Latest

Adkins Sam 1
Adkins Sam 1

A Competitor’s Story: Sam Adkins

Junior shooter Sam Adkins will compete for the Kentucky Wildcats rifle team as a freshman this fall.

U.S. Shotgun Team Captures Four Medals At ISSF Porpetto Junior World Cup

Junior U.S. Shotgun Team secures four medals at the 2024 ISSF Porpetto Junior World Cup Shotgun, including two golds.

Seven Popular Firearm Brands For USPSA Production Division

Competitor survey data from the 2023 USPSA Handgun Nationals included the seven most popular firearms manufacturers for Production shooters.

Olympic Gold Medalist Launi Meili Speaks At CMP First Shot Ceremony

Launi Meili, an Olympic gold medalist and the Air Force Academy head rifle coach, fired her gold-plated 1907 Standard rimfire rifle to kick off the 2024 CMP National Matches at Camp Perry on July 15.

NRA Conducts Pistol, Smallbore ‘Championship Of Champions’ At Quantico: 1948 National Matches

When Congress failed to provide funds for the 1948 National Matches, NRA ensured there would be a national shooting competition by holding a pistol and smallbore championship at Quantico, Va.

Champions Crowned At 2024 USA High School Clay Target League National Championship

Brody Lenington topped the 2024 USA High School Clay Target League National Championship leaderboard to win the overall title, while Madelyn Coats picked up the women’s individual title.

Interests



Get the best of Shooting Sports USA delivered to your inbox.