Fort Hays State University shot down the competition when the Shooting Club brought back an all-American and placed ninth overall in the Association of College Unions International Intercollegiate Clay Target Championships in San Antonio, Texas.
Seth Scheuerman, Scott City senior, achieved all-American status with 10th place overall, fourth in international trap, third in American trap and second in combined trap, men's division. Scheuerman is the first all-American from FHSU. Mark Nollette, Hastings, Neb., freshman, placed eighth in five-stand and Jennifer Newman, Oskaloosa sophomore, placed fifth overall and third in American trap, women's division.
The FHSU team placed third overall in American trap, team division, with 485 out of 500 targets broken. The team competed in six intercollegiate meets during the fall 2008 and spring 2009 semesters, and in five of those meets, the FHSU team won or placed second in overall team standing. In addition, the team won or placed in most of the individual shooting events.
For the first time since FHSU began competing in this event in 2006, they achieved both individual and team placement in the medal rounds. About 400 students on 37 teams from colleges and universities nationwide competed in team and single events in American and international trap and skeet shooting, five-stand and combined trap events.
With all that competition, FHSU still walked home with a solid ninth place overall ranking. It would seem the Shooting Club's 2008 Most Improved Organization of the Year award wasn’t just for show.
The competition involves institutions from junior colleges and universities nationwide all the way to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Dr. Duane Shepherd, associate professor of health and human performance and faculty director of the club, said FHSU's team stacks up quite well against larger and more prestigious universities.
"Most of our members have some shooting background. We simply try to enhance and develop their abilities and put them in a position to compete at the collegiate level," he said. The ninth place overall standing FHSU received in American trap only serves to back up Shepherd's claim.
Last year, the team and three individuals from FHSU were highlighted as part of ESPN's coverage of the meet.
In addition to Newman, Nollette and Scheuerman, the shooting team was comprised of Joseph Boeckner, Hays sophomore; Travis Crist. McPherson sophomore; Garet Dinkel, Hays freshman; Blake Hillebrand, Clayton junior; Zack McIntyre, Iola senior; and Nate Rohleder, Hays senior.
The FHSU Shooting Club, founded in the summer of 2005, has grown exponentially to its current roster of 48 members. Team members meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays to practice for competition, shooting 200 targets each. Thursday night is also the club's open shoot night, when all club members can shoot targets for recreation.
The club receives allocations from SGA for travel and meals, but supplies such as ammunition and targets are acquired through donations and other support. Students provide their own firearms.
"President Hammond graciously saw to it that we had team jackets and shooting shirts to wear at the events we attend. The way others perceive our club at FHSU is very important to us," Shepherd said.
The Shooting Club tries to stay visible and support shooting sports in the community by promoting firearm responsibility and safety through participation in youth shooting events and shooter mentoring to area young people.
"Many people have misconceptions about shooting sports," said Shepherd. "By teaching the community about safety and responsibility in the use and ownership of firearms, we hope to show that they have many fun and safe recreational uses outside of hunting."
Team members also logged more than 550 community service hours, which earned them the 2008 Tigers in Service Community Service Award from the FHSU Center for Student Involvement.
For anyone who wants to keep up on the events and activities of the Shooting Club, the Web site is at http://www.fhsu.edu/hhp/shootingsports/.