Hillsdale students who participate in shooting sports soon will have the opportunity to train alongside Olympic athletes thanks to a new 10-year partnership between Hillsdale College and USA Shooting, the national governing body for American shooting sports.
The college also plans to build new ranges and facilities at the John Anthony Halter Shooting Sports Center, according to a press release from the college.
The news has garnered national attention. Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that “starting this year, USA Shooting will relocate three major competitions and some team training camps to the college, and has agreed that Hillsdale can call itself the home of the U.S. national shooting team.”
“It’s an unbelievable opportunity for both us and USA Shooting,” said Hillsdale graduate Jordan Hintz ’18, a three-time All-American while a member of the college’s shotgun team. He is now the team’s head coach.
The current political climate is making it increasingly difficult for the USA Shooting Team to operate at its other facilities, said Bart Spieth, the Halter Center Rangemaster who led the college’s shotgun team to its first national championship in 2012.
“Hillsdale College is a leader in supporting knowledge of our heritage and sound thinking well beyond the walls of classrooms on campus,” he said.
Spieth said that he thinks these developments have been a long time coming. This door was finally opened since the coronavirus pandemic, and the struggles that USA Shooting has faced due to lockdowns and the closing of their training center, not to mention the complete postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games.
“It was just meant to be,” he said. “It is wonderful to see that come to pass. In these times of great uncertainty for the Olympic shooting team, Hillsdale College has the opportunity to provide support and leadership.”
Rich Péwé, chief administrative officer at Hillsdale College said he was excited about the partnership.
“We welcome Team USA to campus and look forward to seeing how this partnership enriches our students and furthers the college’s educational mission.”
“I’m very excited for Hillsdale’s shotgun team to have the opportunity to see and perhaps shoot alongside Olympians on a regular basis going forward,” said senior Barrett Moore, a member of the shotgun team. “To share a home range with Olympic athletes is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Another member of the team, senior Kylar Kuzio, agreed.
“The opportunity to meet and shoot alongside Olympic champions is an experience I will never forget,” she said.
Kuzio and Hintz also encouraged all Hillsdale students to take advantage of the Halter Center via courses the school offers, or by considering joining one of the teams.
“It was a great facility before but now that it is an Olympic training facility,” Kuzio said. “How could you not take advantage of the opportunity?”
Kuzio said she was proud to graduate from a school that makes a point of providing proper firearms handling education to interested students.
“I am overjoyed for the shooting sports community that Hillsdale and its supporters take shooting sports seriously enough to be considered a location fit for USA Shooting to lay roots,” she said.
USA Shooting’s desire to partner with Hillsdale College is a testament to the mission of Hillsdale Shooting Sports as well as the school itself, according to Spieth.
“No other college in the United States has the opportunity Hillsdale College has,” Spieth said. “It is a perfect fit,” he said. “We have the chance to make a difference in so many young people’s lives. Truly it is meant to be.”