Tes Salb, All-American future Olympian
By CAPPY GAGNON
Several days a week, in the early morning hours, a young woman comes into the Security Building and reports to the dispatch desk. The security officer at the desk recognizes her and hands her the keys to a locked closet, which has a locked cabinet within. Teri Elizabeth Salb (Tes) uses the keys to retrieve a small aluminum carrying case.
A few minutes later, Tes is downstairs in a garage under the Security Building practicing one of her many athletic talents. Tes would have been a good guest on "What's My Line" (a TV show that aired about a 1000 years ago — ask your grandparents about it). It is doubtful that any panelist would suspect that this soft-spoken, attractive young woman is one of the top pistol shooters in the country, firing her German-made Steyr, .177-caliber air pistol. I can personally attest to her shooting accuracy. We let Tes shoot in the same area we store bicycles for the semi-annual auctions, and in this very confined space. She hasn't hit one yet.
Tes has won many gold and silver championships, including the Junior Olympic National Championship in women's air pistol in April 1997. But that's not the end of her accomplishments. Tes is also a member of the greatest college marching band in America, the band of the Fighting Irish, where she plays in the first trumpet section. She has also fenced for the Irish, earning a monogram this past year. And, in case you think that juggling an epee, a trumpet and a pistol is a difficult task, consider that we've barely scratched the surface of the talents of this remarkable athlete.
Tes competed as a swimmer in high school (Hobbs, N.M.), serving as captain of her swim team and qualifying for the state championship in one of her relay events. She also ran cross country for Hobbs High School. Despite her proficiency at the high school level, Tes found running and swimming to be her two weakest events of the modern pentathlon. She was stronger in the fencing and shooting, although she continues to be the strongest in the equestrian events. She has been riding since she was 5 years old. Tes has won age group equestrian competitions since she was barely 10 years old. In 1995, she won a first place equestrian in the Olympic Festival, U.S. Modern Pentathlon, women's competition and a 6th place overall. She won a 4th place in the 1995 Junior National Championships.
The old joke about versatile athletes used to be that "they took time out to sell popcorn at halftime," but that wouldn't even begin to convey the versatility of Tes Salb. She has been a featured dancer in ballet tap and jazz dance programs since she was 13 years sold. She still does some part-time dance instructing. Somehow, Tes has also found time to pick up several science fair prizes, including first place in a couple of southwest science fairs in something called microbiology (I don't think they had this when I was a kid — our biology was bigger back then).
Tes won a first place at the National Camp in women's air pistol this past summer. She is a member of the Olympic Development Team which trains at Colorado Springs, Colo. She was also featured in an ESPN film about the 1998 Atlanta World Cup. She has competed in air pistol competitions all over the country and in a few exotic foreign locations, such as the 1998 World Competition in Barcelona, Spain.
Competitors in women's air pistol have one hour and 15 minutes to take 40 shots. The target is 10 meters away, with the 10-ring being less than half an inch in diameter. When Tes qualified for the World Championships in 1998, she shot consecutive 373 scores, just a little below the standard to describe "World Class." Her shooting is even more remarkable because she has been shooting for only a few years.
If I had sons instead of daughters, I would be trying to match them up with Tes — but then I met her boyfriend last month. He's a good-looking guy, but I would not expect Tes Salb to settle for any old bronze-medal type of guy when she is an All-American and an Olympian in the making.
Cappy Gagnon, '66 coordinates the student employees for the Notre Dame Security/Police Department and has volunteered to carry Tes Salb's gun case to the Sydney Olympics.
The views expressed in the column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.
All Viewpoint Stories for Monday, September 20, 1999