Hillsdale College’s five-time Division III National Champion shotgun team welcomed three new freshmen for the 2019 – 2020 season.
Freshmen Ida Brown, Woody Glazer, and Brad Lehman, will be making their debut, each bringing unique strengths to the team.
Brown, a native Californian, started shooting with her brother in fifth grade year as a way to to learn gun safety and participate in a sport together. It took her some time before she hit her stride.
“My gun jammed all the time in skeet and sporting clays,” Brown said. Her semi-automatic TriStar cost her many targets in her initial tournaments.
“I was really bad at shooting. For the first 600 rounds I don’t think I hit a single target,” Brown admitted. “And for my first two years I didn’t hit a 25 straight in trap.”
As Brown spent more time practicing with a nearby high school team, she eventually encountered world champion American Skeet shooter Todd Bender, and subsequently took several clinics with him. At these clinics, Bender helped her overcome her difficulty of being a left eye dominant shooter with right shooting arm. Normally a shooter’s dominant eye matches their shooting arm.
“He’s my favorite coach because he helped me develop a lot of different techniques to make skeet easier for me,” Brown said. “He’s the reason I shoot with both eyes open for skeet.”
Her skeet training resulted in great improvement, and as a freshman on the high school team, she placed third at the California Skeet State Championships and third at the National Championships for skeet.
Lehman began learning shotgun safety at a young age through hunting in South Carolina. He eventually joined a high school team in seventh grade with some help from his friends. He started practicing sporting clays, his best discipline.
“Shooting is a whole lot easier when you have friends doing it with you,” Lehman said. “I’d want to go to practice to see them no matter how poorly I shot.”
Lehman said favorite coach, Steve Bolt, was the first one who saw potential in him. He credited Bolt for teaching him all the basics of competitive shotgun shooting and helping get him to the level he is today.
Lehman estimated that on average he would shoot six to eight hours a week during the school year and even more in the summers. This rigorous schedule helped prepare him for larger tournaments such as state championships and southeast regional tournaments, where he won the junior division and two sub-junior tournaments.
“This season I’m most excited for Nationals in Texas, especially because I get to compete against friends on the Clemson team,” Lehman said. “I feel that all the members of the team with the addition of the three new freshman gives us another chance at a National Championship which would be really exciting to win my first year on the team.”
The catalyst for Glazer’s shooting career was shooting hand thrown clays in his backyard with his dad as a young boy. In eighth grade, he left the backyard and joined up with a nearby high school trap team to hone his skills.
Glazer’s high school coach, Paul Dietz, had a unique approach to shooting that made a significant impact on Glazer.
“He gave me an outlook on shooting that a lot of coaches don’t do,” Glazer said. “He gave me a logical approach rather than a superstitious approach which helped me to be a more adaptive shooter.”
Though Glazer had many successes as an individual shooter in high school, he said he was most proud of being one of the 2016 team Minnesota state champions and on a 2019 state champion team.
Getting to know the team is one of Glazer’s top priorities for his freshman season. He also hopes to be on the squad that wins another national title.
“It may be a little optimistic, but we have a really good chance,” Glazer said.