UW-Superior rifle team places 8th at nationalsThe University of Wisconsin-Superior intercollegiate rifle team made history by finishing eighth in the country at the recent Intercollegiate Rife National Championships.
The University of Wisconsin-Superior intercollegiate rifle team made history by finishing eighth in the country at the recent Intercollegiate Rife National Championships.
It was their inaugural season in the competition that was held at Fort Benning on the United States Army Marksmanship Unit’s ranges in Georgia over the weekend of March 15-17.
Each season only the top 10 club teams in the country are invited to the Intercollegiate National Championship after regional qualifying tournaments held in several locations across the country. The UWS Rifle Team shot their qualifying score in February at North Dakota State University. The qualifying tournament and National Championships are shot in both air rifle and .22 caliber smallbore rifle, and the scores from the two are added together for an aggregate total for rankings. UWS entered the national championship ranked eighth in the country in air rifle, and seventh in the country in .22 smallbore. The UWS team was represented at the national championship by team members Tiffany Jones, Crystal Jarve, Zack Bauer and Ariel Johnson. Shooters Zach Bauer and Ariel Johnson were shooting as alternates for shooters Ian Stone and Spencer Miller who could not make the trip to nationals.
Chad Danielson is the UWS shooting sports coordinator/range director and was thrilled with how the team did in their first year of competitive shooting.
“It was awesome,” he said. “Most everybody on this team comes at it with no formal training in shooting.”
But safety is the first topic the team learns according to Danielson, who has been shooting at the UWS range since he was 11 years old. He even competed himself in the junior program that the community is also involved in that has won numerous state and national championships. Danielson is also a campus security officer on the UWS campus and has been for the past dozen years.
March 16 saw teams compete in the air rifle stage of the championship and UWS shooters Jones, and Jarve led the team with scores of 530 and 472 out of a possible 600. After the Saturday competition concluded shooters and coaches attended a marksmanship clinic hosted by Army Marksmanship Unit International Rifle shooters that included 2012 Olympic Team shooter Sgt. First Class Jason Parker.
Jarve, a UWS junior, said that she will never forget her first trip to the event and learning from an experienced shooter.
“Meeting an Olympic shooter was so amazing,” she said. “He not only is an amazing shooter he also is a very nice person. Very charismatic and he just wanted us to do well. Also the Army Marksmanship Unit was a very large part of the tournament. While we were there they put on a class for all of the competitors and they provided a lot of great tips.”
March 17 was the .22 smallbore portion of the championship held on the Army Marksmanship Unit’s outdoor 50 meter range. Again the team was led in score by UWS senior Jones who shot 499 out of the possible 600, and Bauer who shot a career best 464.
After the two days of competition against schools in attendance such as University of Michigan, Clemson, Penn State, and Purdue, and the air rifle scores and .22 smallbore scores were added for overall aggregate totals, the UWS rifle team maintained an eighth overall national team ranking out of 10 teams.
Jarve had no formal training before joining the team and was thrilled to compete, she added.
“It was amazing,” she said. “All of the people involved in putting on the tournament were all very nice and helping. They were always willing to give advice. It didn’t matter to me this year if we did well or not, this was our first year going to nationals and I just wanted to get a feel for it.”
UWS shooters in attendance at this season’s championships are already looking forward to next season and always looking for more students to join the program which runs from September through December. Jarve is already one of those looking ahead to next year.
It was a lot of fun representing UW-Superior at nationals,” she said. “We had never gone before and there was a team from UW-Oshkosh there as well and it was a lot of friendly competition. I can’t wait to do it again next year and come home with a few trophies.”