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.”