Competitive Shooting

USA Shooting Team Member Profile: Eric and Sandra Uptagrafft

Sandra Uptagrafft — photo courtesy of USA Shooting

While most married couples are probably discussing the broken garage door or which shade of gray to paint the house next summer, top-shot couple Eric and Sandra Uptagrafft probably chat about much grander plans, such as traveling to the next World Cup or strategies they plan to implement at the next Olympic games.

Eric Uptagrafft
Eric Uptagrafft — photo courtesy of USA Shooting

Although it is not unusual for married couples to share similar interests, it is not everyday you find a married couple who both happen to be veteran Olympic athletes. However, shooting and marriage go hand-in-hand for the dynamic, world-class shooting duo of Eric and Sandra Uptagrafft. In fact, you could say shooting is a family affair for this team.

Eric discovered early on in his life that he possessed the necessary skills needed to succeed in rifle shooting competitions. At the budding age of 11, in his home state of Washington, he joined a junior shooting team coached by Bill Havercroft. A spot on the National Development team soon followed, and within two years Eric had earned a coveted spot on the National Shooting team. He has been a member of this exclusive team for 20 years. From his first Olympic game in 1996 to World Cups, World Championships, Pan American Games and to his most recent appearance in the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Currently, Eric is a team member of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit.

Sandra Uptagrafft — photo courtesy of USA Shooting
Sandra Uptagrafft — photo courtesy of USA Shooting

Unlike her husband, Sandra got a late start in shooting. Her first introduction to firearms and shooting was in basic training. After completing her training she headed off to college and with a group of friends began looking for a rifle team to join. Although she did not have any luck finding a rifle team to shoot with, she did find a pistol team and thankfully a coach who was willing to teach her and provide the necessary equipment. Sandra discovered she had shooting talent and quickly advanced from collegiate competitions to the fast-paced, exciting world of international shooting competitions. Over the last few years she has competed in Championships of the Americas, World Cup, World Championship, Pan American Games and in 2012 the Olympic Games.

One look at their resumes and it is easy to see these two share a love of the shooting sports and an obvious attraction to the thrill of elite levels of competition. Despite the long list of shooting accolades, and there are many, what Eric and Sandra seem to take pride in the most is their love of country and their mutual sense of duty. Sandra is an information specialist and a Petty Officer First Class in the Navy Reserves. She is currently deployed in Kandahar, Afghanistan with her Seabee unit, Third Naval Construction Regiment. Eric is a Sergeant First Class in the Navy Reserves and deployed in 2011 to aid in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. In 2007 he deployed to Kuwait.

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Comments (3)

  1. “Eric is a Sergeant First Class in the Navy Reserves and deployed in 2011 to aid in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.”

    Given that Sergeant is a rank not associated with anything Navy (other than the USMC), perhaps you mean the Army Reserves as SFC Uptagrafft is pictured wearing Army blues in the picture above.

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