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Hillsdale College and USA Shooting have entered a new part­nership. Amanda Klug | Courtesy

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.”