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The Hillsdale College shotgun team cel­e­brates after placing third at the ACUI national com­pe­tition. (Amanda Klug | Courtesy)

The Hillsdale shotgun team won third place overall in the Division III cat­egory of the Asso­ci­ation of Col­leges Union Inter­na­tional com­pe­tition last week in San Antonio, Texas.  

Junior Lucas Pieraccini’s shooting dis­tin­guished him as the 46th best shotgun shooter during the com­pe­tition-out of nearly 900 com­petitors, including all of the Division I com­petitors.  

The team won first overall in inter­na­tional skeet shooting, an event that they were not favored to win. They also took second overall in sporting clays.  

Freshman Anthony LaMacchia and Pier­accini led the team with scores of 92 clays out of 100, and senior Emanuel Boyer scored 86 clays.  

“Even the people who knew that they weren’t going to post scores just had a good time,” freshman Brandon Korhonen said.  

The newest member of the team, sophomore Mariah Lowry, was one such shooter. 

“It was my first time ever shooting Inter­na­tional Skeet,” Lowry said, “And it was my goal to hit one target.”  

In actu­ality, she hit 52 out of 100 targets. She said she was grateful for her squad’s immense support, who after each round gave her encour­agement and advice. 

First year shooter, sophomore Barrett Moore, tied with Pier­accini with 97 targets hit in the American Skeet com­pe­tition. Pier­accini was the team’s highest skeet scorer for the season. Hintz said he was impressed with Moore’s per­for­mance.

“It was cer­tainly within Moore’s abil­ities, but for him to do it was unex­pected,” Hintz said. 

Senior Matt Grun­zweig, who placed in the top scores in every event except Inter­na­tional Skeet, said he was also proud of Moore and his other team­mates. 

“I was par­tic­u­larly proud of how most of the freshman shot, specif­i­cally Barrett,” Grun­zweig said, “ He really came in the clutch this year and I know he’s going to develop into a top shooter.”

Despite some indi­vidual team member suc­cesses, the team overall was a little dis­ap­pointed not to con­tinue its five year winning streak at the com­pe­tition. 

“We’re a pretty young team, and we felt the pressure,” Korhonen said. 

The team’s youth and lack of expe­rience con­tributed greatly to the result, not to mention that three of the team’s best shooters in history grad­uated last year, according to Hintz.  

Though the team will be grad­u­ating three more shooters this year, they have some recruits who will join in August. Overall, everyone is hopeful going forward, and the current seniors had some words of praise to share. 

“We shot well overall and we still placed. Sixty percent of the team attended nationals for the first time this year, so it was a good oppor­tunity for them to learn what it’s all about and profit from the expe­rience,” senior Amanda Klug said. “I can’t wait to see what the they will do next year. I’m incredibly proud of everyone and I’ve loved being a part of this team.”

Senior Emanuel Boyer said he was very proud of the newer shooters. 

“As far as season high­lights go, I just want to point out how proud I am of some of our newer shooters,” Boyer said, “I think they’ve really put in a tremendous amount of effort and developed an incredible amount in such a small period of time.”