Brett Roberts ’15
Despite facing much larger and more well-established programs, the Clay Target Club pulled off an impressive finish in early November. The competition, the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) Collegiate Southeastern Regional Championships, took place the weekend of November 2nd in Nashville, Tennessee. Faced with strong competition in Division 2, the club earned second place behind Southern Illinois College.
A meeting of 15 colleges and universities, the competition included talent from Lindenwood University, one of the best clay target programs in the country. In Division 2, the club faced Southeastern Illinois College, VMI, University of Delaware, Missouri State, and University of Central Missouri.
Scoring was done on a basis of targets hits of 300 targets per person, with 100 each of sporting clays, trap, and skeet. The top five scorers on each team’s totals were added and compared to the other competitors. The club earned 1,169 points to edge out VMI’s third place finish, with their top three scorers Cody Bailey ’15, Richard Foley ’15, and Jay Easley ’15 earning 260, 236, and 230 points, respectively.
Berkeley Leonard ’07, the Clay Target Club faculty advisor, said, “Overall, we had a great showing for one of the smaller schools there. For the first major competition that the team has actually been in, the guys did very well thanks to their great focus with their sporting clays shooting and skeet shooting. Trap is the only thing that the guys didn’t place in.”
The club has been able to practice for competition thanks to the generosity of John Woodard, who works in Buildings and Grounds. He owns a piece of property that he used to have for a hunting preserve that he has allowed the team to use.
“We have a few guys on the team who have been doing this their whole lives and others who have just gotten into the sport in the past few years. Just about all of the guys are hunters and have been around guns their entire lives, so the sport is coming to them naturally. We’re lucky to have the property where we shoot so close to campus,” said Leonard.
After their successful competition, the club is continuing to work hard to prepare for others. On January 28th and 29th, they will have the honor of working with Anthony Matarese, the 2012 US Open Champion in Sporting Clays. Matarese is a 16 time All-American, a 10-time member of Team USA, and is recognized as one of the top sporting clays competitors in the world. In addition to helping with technique, he will be aiding the club in setting up a course to practice on.
As for the rest of the year, the club is planning smaller, local shoots, but is primarily focused on the Association of College Unions International (ACUI) Collegiate Clay Target Championships in San Antonio, Texas in late March. According to Leonard, “That’s the big thing for all collegiate clay target programs and the determinant for the national champion and where they separate the men from the boys.”