By Scott Hensley
JU Varsity Shooting Team Captain
JU’s Varsity Shooting Team has started the new semester strong, winning the ACUI Southeast Collegiate Regional Championships at the famed Forest City Gun Club in Savannah, Ga.
When the smoke cleared after the Sporting Clays kickoff event Saturday, Jan. 18, the Dolphin shooters dominated the field, earning High Overall Average (HOA) Team by a margin of 57 targets. Later that day, the Dolphins won HOA Team in Skeet and in Trap as well.
The trip marks the start of a busy, competitive spring schedule for the JU Shooting Team, which is led by head Coach David Dobson. The lineup ends with the ACUI (Association of College Unions International) National Championships at the end of March at the National Shooting Complex in San Antonio, Texas. JU is a three-time Divisional National Champion.
Team member Shelby Lopresto was named High-Overall Ladies Champion, and Scott Hensley earned the title of High-Overall Men’s Champion. The JU Varsity Shooting Team outshot the competition by more than 130 targets.
The team had to contend with 40-degree weather and 15-mph winds while starting out with the very tough Sporting Clays event. The JU ladies shot well, with freshman Lopresto earning Ladies Sporting Clays High-Overall (HOA) Shooter and sophomore Julianne Evans finishing a close second. In the Men’s Division, senior and Team Captain Scott Hensley earned a second-place finish after defeating Hunter Daniel of the University of Florida in a shoot-out.
Saturday afternoon kicked off the Skeet event and brought with it even more wind and mid 40-degree temperatures. With the wind whipping and targets bouncing, every shooter had to put forth extra focus. The JU shooters again showed their dominance by winning High-Overall Team in Skeet.
The JU ladies topped the podium, earning all three ladies individual medals. Lopresto earned a first-place finish. Junior Erin Felker earned her first medal of the weekend, finishing second, and Julianne Evans followed up her Sporting Clays performance with a third-place finish in Skeet. In the Men’s Division, Hensley earned another second-place finish after losing in the Skeet shootoffs for first place.
The final day of competition Jan. 19 brought milder weather and considerably less wind, and all knew that the JU Dolphins could lock up the title of tournament champions with a strong performance in the Trap event.
With mechanical problems abundant and a long wait to shoot, the Dolphins held onto their focus and delivered a strong performance. Austin Carter, in his first competition after having been gone a year as a Dolphin, produced a strong preliminary score and prepared for the Trap event shoot-off. He showed his confidence as the rest of the Dolphins rallied behind him, and after an intense shoot-out, won first place in the Men’s Division of Trap.
Lopresto continued to shoot well, earning another first place, sweeping the top spot in each of the Ladies disciplines. When the final scores were tallied and the winners announced, the Dolphins again won HOA Team in Trap.
For more on the JU shooting team, visit http://ju.edu/jusstc/Pages/default.aspx.