By Clayton Levins
JU’s varsity shooting team competed well last weekend after moving up a division in the Association of College Unions International’s 45th annual Collegiate Clay Target Championships.
The event March 26-31 brought 57 colleges and universities, with 17 members of the Jacksonville University Sporting Clays, Skeet and Trap Team competing in Division II after the team won in Division III the past two years.
“We are one of the top programs in the country by reputation largely due to the unique way in which we do things as a team and as a program,” said Head Coach David Dobson. “This transition shows that we’re progressing as a team, and this is huge for our program growth and Jacksonville University.”
The JU team had several strong individual performances in each of the event’s six disciplines. Team Captain Scott Hensley stood out with a strong 95 out of 100 targets in International Wobble Trap in tough winds, as well as a 94 out of 100 targets in American Trap.
“I was thrilled that he (Hensley) shot with the big leaguers this weekend,” Dobson said. “Scott shot at near Olympic level with those scores, and I’m so proud of how he competed under the pressure of such a tough environment. In fact, I am proud of the whole team in how they stepped up.”
More than 500 individuals took part in the championships, an 11 percent increase since 2011, according to the ACUI. The event includes American Skeet, American Trap, International Wobble Trap, International Skeet, Five-Stand Sporting, and Sporting Clays.
Hensley said the weekend was not only a great accomplishment for himself but for the whole team.
“We had a great weekend as a team,” he said. “We have a lot of new shooters who lacked experience, but it was great to see their scores increase as the week went on. Overall, this week has been a great experience for everyone on our team.”
Last year, up against 58 other teams, the JU team placed third overall in Division III, third in American Skeet and third in International Skeet. With this year’s event concluding the 2012-2013 school year schedule, Dobson says he couldn’t be more ready for fall 2013. He says he is envisioning a 10-tournament fall and spring for the program.
“We have a tremendous team that is very green but will develop with more training and exposure, and that is exciting for me as a head coach and program director,” he said. “I am very, very proud of this team. The men and women of this team are just the best of the best and exceptionally professional. I am honored to work with them.”
To see all results from this year’s championships, click here.