The Hillsdale College Shotgun Sports team earned its fifth consecutive Division III national title last week. The team sent nine people to compete in San Antonio, Texas, in the Association of College Unions International Collegiate Clay Target Championships March 26 – 31.
“It’s incredibly stressful and a relief at the same time,” senior Emanuel Boyer said. “It’s sort of a marathon. You shoot at least one event every day.”
Seniors Jordan Hintz and Drew Lieske overcame the stress to earn All-American designations, taking 16th and third place, respectively. This was Lieske’s fourth All-American title. All-Americans are not divided into divisions, but rather earned by scoring the highest in the top 20 of all competitors, from all four divisions. The top 20 highest scores compiled from all six events earn the All-American honor. More than 800 shooters competed.
Hintz and Lieske’s performances contributed to the team’s success. The team took first place in five of the six competitions, with an almost perfect score of 493 points out of a possible 500 in the American Skeet competition. Lieske led the team in the sporting clays, super sporting, and international skeet competitions. Hintz led the team in the international trap and American skeet competitions. Senior Kie Kababik also led the team in the American trap competition.
“I’ve made some of my best friends on the team and some great relationships. Being a part of a team is something I love, and being able to mix it with shooting is great,” Kababik said. “I’m glad I got to come to this college and do it.”
Boyer also competed this weekend, scoring 99 points out of a possible 100 in the American skeet competition. He said the biggest challenge was having to maintain focus for seven hours a day, for six days.
“When you finish competing, you start practicing for the next event,” Boyer said.
To stay focused during competition, Boyer said he tries to distract himself during breaks by telling jokes and talking with teammates, while Hintz said he tries to remain focused for the entire day.
“I keep myself from getting distracted by getting a song stuck in my head,” Hintz said. “The song changes, but during skeet it was ‘Location’ by Khalid.”
As individual as this sport may be, each shooter works together to encourage and help teammates improve, the team members said.
“Being able to shoot as a team is a really tremendous experience,” Boyer said. “This is one of the few times you actually get to shoot as a team.”