Clay target shooters from Fort Hays State University took the Division II Collegiate Clay Target Championships at the national competition of the Association of College Unions International San Antonio, Texas. Tiger shooters broke 2,156 targets out of 2,300 total to place win the division and place third overall for all divisions, I, II and III.
Two team members posted perfect scores in individual events. Damian Giles, North Platte, Neb., senior, posted a perfect score in two events, breaking 100 out of 100 targets in the American Skeet and American Trap events. Ashley Nau, Gering, Neb., junior, also scored a perfect 100 in American Trap.
This was the second consecutive year that Giles was perfect, 200 for 200, in the combined American events.
The FHSU team won three events outright -- International Skeet, International Trap and American Skeet -- and placed in the remaining three, taking second in American Trap and Sporting Clays and tying for third in Five-Stand. Team events are not divided by gender.
Giles and Print Zutavern, Broken Bow, Neb., sophomore, were named All Americans for a second consecutive year.
In all 10 events of the season, including the national championship, said Dr. Duane Shepherd, associate professor of health and human performance and team coach, FHSU either won the high overall or were second.
Shepherd, of course, expressed his pride in the team's accomplishments, but not only for that.
"We're always proud of them," he said, "not only as shooters but as individuals. They are non-scholarship and put forth their own time and effort. You have to to be proud of them. They have chosen to reach the level they have reached."
FHSU's team is a student organization supported by some Student Government Association funding. The team also enjoys community support and engages in various fundraising activities.
The national tournament also featured a special event for clay target shooters, a separate International Skeet and International Trap competition sponsored by USA Shooting, the governing body for the U.S. Olympics shooting teams. Nau placed second and Kendall Hostler, Grand Island, Neb., junior, placed fourth, both in International Trap, among the women shooters, and Giles placed second in the men's International Skeet competition. First-place men and women in each category were added to USA Shooting's Olympic development team.
FHSU's clay target team has been competing since the spring of 2006, which was the national tournament, said Shepherd. In 2007, the team won the first of several most-improved awards for individual events and was the Division II national runner up in both 2011 and 2012.
ACUI shooting divisions are based on the number of shooters, not the size of the school. The division structure was implemented for the 2011 season.
The FHSU Shooting Team for the ACUI nationals, listed by hometown with their high schools and FHSU classifications and majors:
Bartley, Neb.: Tye Smith, a McCook High School graduate, is a junior majoring in agribusiness.
Broken Bow, Neb.: Print Zutavern, a Broken Bow High School graduate, is sophomore majoring in agribusiness.
Gering, Neb.: Ashley Nau, a Gering High School graduate, is a junior majoring in biology.
Grand Island, Neb.: Kendall Hostler, a Northwest High School graduate, is a junior majoring in animal science.
Haysville: Tarent Tevis, a Derby High School graduate, is a senior majoring in agribusiness.
Kingman: Caitlin Watts, a Kingman High School graduate, is a senior majoring in social work.
Minatare, Neb.: Cody Pedulla, a Scottsbluff High School graduate, is a senior majoring in marketing.
Mitchell, Neb.: Katie Svoboda, a Gering High School graduate, is a sophomore majoring in speech-language pathology.
North Platte, Neb.: Damian Giles, a North Platte High School graduate, is a senior majoring in justice studies.
Pratt: Kilee Hutchison, a Lakin High School graduate, is a senior majoring in animal science.
Quinter: Bill Leighton, a Quinter High School graduate, is a senior majoring in technology studies.
Springfield, Colo.: Robert Ring, a Springfield High School graduate, is a senior majoring in accounting.
Tescott: Zachary McClure, Tescott High School graduate, is a senior majoring in general science.
Wellsville: Bryan Hull, an Ottawa High School graduate, is a sophomore majoring in general studies.