Memphis rifle athlete, Kaylene Castillo, is in the midst of her sophomore season with the Tigers. She hails from Albuquerque, New Mexico, a place vastly different from her current home at the university.
Castillo says the sport is much more prevalent in her hometown. An alumnus of Eldorado High School, the sport was offered by JROTC programs in Albuquerque. Although she is young, it’s already her sixth year shooting.
Of course, some of the more noticeable differences between her hometown and Memphis are the culture and climate. Castillo says a large majority of the population is Hispanic in Albuquerque, which impacts the traditions and way of life. She is also used to the dry heat and desert-like landscape, a massive change from the muggy, inconsistent climate you find in Memphis.
Not so coincidentally, Castillo’s older sister, Haley, also competed in collegiate rifle. While Kaylene is an accomplished shooter herself, she says her sister was by far her biggest inspiration.
“My older sister was such a role model for me, she shot her four years at the University of Alaska Fairbanks,” Castillo said.
Castillo says being a student-athlete is more than just the athlete part, which is why she chose to come to Memphis. She says the school’s resources and variety of major programs is what originally piqued her interest. As the season progresses, she wants to continue learning and growing alongside her team.
Kaylene Castillo is in her sophomore season as a Tiger. Traveling all the way from Albuquerque, New Mexico, she has had to adjust to not only the climate change, but also a culture shift.