Shooting Team Takes Aim at Third Place

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Photo courtesy of Ashley Kohler

A young Jacksonville University team competing for the last time in Division III placed among the elite at the recent Association of College Unions International  Clay Target Collegiate National Championships.

The JU Sporting, Skeet & Trap Team, up against 58 other teams at the 44th annual event in San Antonio, placed third overall in Division III, third in American Skeet and third in International Skeet. The team moves up to Division II next year.

The reason for the team’s movement from Division III to Division II is because the ACUI divides the divisions by team size. As the program at JU continues to become larger, the higher division the team will be placed.

“This was a very green team, as we lost some top shooters from last year’s Division III National Championship Team,” said Coach David T. Dobson. “However, given the new crop of inexperienced shooters, we did very well and went to the podium three times – very proud of this team.”

Coach Dobson expects that a strong team will return to JU next fall.

“We have some superb talent that is up and coming,” Dobson said. “The Clay Target Sports are much bigger than just shooting clay targets. We are building skills and solutions for life in terms of responsibility, accountability, professionalism, discipline, respect, manners, keeping safe and overall character.”

This year’s Nationals Team consisted of 14 members: Justin Felker (Team Captain), Ashley Kohler (Co-Captain), Scott Hensley (Co-Captain), Eric Baker, Kara Feinstein, Leigh-Anne Edwards, Tarrant Dunford, Charlie “Bulldog” Needham, Erin Felker, David Gonzales, Rob Searcy, Adam Granic, Dustin Mollohan, and Becky Killinger.

“It felt great for our team to place in our division this year,” said senior co-captain Ashley Kohler. “It really showed that our hard work paid off.”

The championship for this event lasted from March 27 to April 2 and was held at the National Shooting Complex in San Antonio. Members of the USA Shooting Team (Olympic Team qualifier) and ESPN were also on hand.

The Intercollegiate Clay Target Championships are the only national tournament in which collegiate shooters may compete in six different clay target events within the same program. The events include International Skeet, International Trap, American Skeet, American Trap, sporting clays and five-stand sporting. Sponsoring partners include Midway USA, Midway USA Foundation, the National Shooting Sporting Foundation, the National Rifle Association collegiate and School Programs, and the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation.

Next year the team plans to get involved in more collegiate shoots throughout the year.

“I want my team to remember me as a shooter who worked hard when I could get out to practices and also never gave up,” Kohler said.

This year the team saw a new array of shooters, and they put up competitive scores. Kohler said she was proud of them for getting out there to compete.

Although last year the team placed in more events, this year JU’s overall team averages made it possible for the team to place in its division.

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