TCU rifle team mourns loss of talented freshman

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(TCU Athletics)


By Ray Cartwright
Frogs Today Staff Writer


TCU Rifle star Julie Johannessen, who helped lead TCU to a runner-up finish at the NCAA Championships in her freshman season, passed away on Sunday at the age of 21, the school announced on Wednesday. 

No cause of death has been announced at this time. 

Coach Karen Monez had this to say about the passing of Johannessen:

“We mourn the loss of an incredibly talented young woman. Julie was the ultimate competitor in all things she did. Her infectious smile brought joy wherever she went. She lit up a room when she walked through the door. Her energy was contagious. She was a beloved teammate, loved her fellow team members and loved being a Horned Frog. Despite her youth, she was a decorated athlete both at the collegiate level and on the international stage. In her short time with the TCU program, she accomplished feats few others had. The rifle community is small and her loss will be felt globally. While our hearts are shattered, we are forever grateful for the time we had with her.”

Johannessen, a native of Fredrikstad, Norway came to TCU to join the Horned Frogs prestigious Rifle program. She quickly made a name for herself in the rifle community helping TCU set an NCAA record in aggregate team score of 4758, when they shot against Navy to start the 2022-23 season.

In January, Johannessen shot her first perfect score, 600, in air rifle against UTEP becoming only the fifth Horned Frog to ever accomplish that feat. 

She would out do herself the following weekend in the Patriot Rifle Championships, where she broke the NCAA record in small bore shooting a 598, an incredible feat for anyone, let alone a freshman. She followed that up by shooting another perfect 600 in air rifle the next day.  She broke the NCAA record in aggregate score for an individual with an 1198 at the same time. Johannessen was also the first shooter in NCAA history to shoot perfect 600’s in consecutive weekends. She also won an Individual Air Rifle Championship in conference play that weekend. Her scores helped TCU win a conference championship.

Johannessen was loved by many.  Her teammates describe her as an incredible friend and teammate. She was a care-free yet fierce competitor who had a bubbly personality and was incredibly joyful. She would keep a miniature stuffed animal on her stand at rifle events as a reminder to have fun and not let the moment get to serious. 

Johannessen comes from a family of shooters, she would often talk glowing about her sister, Camilla who is on the Nebraska rifle team. She would talk in a joking manner about competitions within the family about who was the best shooter in the family.

TCU is holding a candle light vigil this Thursday night at 8 p.m. to honor the memory of Johannessen at the Frog Fountains.  

On a personal note, I was able to get to know Julie while covering the Rifle program for Frogs Today.  I watched a shy, quiet young lady grow into a world-class athlete who always praised her teammates, family and love of the sport. 

Her personality was bright and could light up a room, she always was striving for perfection which drove her competitive spirit. My heart goes out to coach Karen Monez, assistant coach Hannah Black, the TCU Rifle team, and the TCU community. 


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