Just shoot me

By By Ana Breton

By Ana Breton

Two U students have a clear shot at making the U.S. National Shooting Team.

Nicholas Zachman, junior in political science, took first place in two different shooting events-air pistol and free pistol crown-at an international match Sept. 30.

Thomas Fairbanks, junior engineering major, also placed first in the standard pistol competition.

The match, which took place in the Naval Sciences Building, was a preliminary tryout for the U.S. National Shooting Team-the first step toward competing in the Olympics.

The Shootin’ Utes team’s eight members competed against one other and local shooters, said Matthew DeLong, club advisor.

“The sport is all about concentration,” Fairbanks said.

The standard pistol competition, which Fairbanks won comprises shooting 60 bullets at a target the size of a dollar coin placed 50 feet away.

The free pistol crown and the air pistol match are also made up of 60 shots, however, the free pistol crown is shot at six different targets 50 feet away while the air pistol match is shot at 60 targets 33 feet away.

Matches can last anywhere from 40 minutes to two hours.

And even though the long distance and small target size may seem difficult, shooting is actually a simple sport, DeLong said.

“It’s incredibly easy,” he said. “When you play golf, you just swing a club. Here, you just have to align your sights and shoot a trigger.”

Fairbanks also said shooting helps him to focus during class and to relieve stress.

For fun, he said, he “shoots computers.”

And even though the team is celebrating the victory, DeLong said it is facing a gender issue

A women’s shooting scholarship, valued at $1,500 for in-state students or $3,000 for out-of-state students, was not claimed this year.

The team has only one female member.

“Women are actually physiologically better shooters than men,” DeLong said.

Membership fees are $20. However, members must pay for their own supplies, match fees and travel expenses, for which are they are reimbursed at the end of the year.

This weekend, the team will compete against the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. Besides the academy, the team will shoot against Ohio State University and the United States Coast Guard Academy.

The Shootin’ Utes, which are currently ranked fifth in the nation, hope to become the third non-military team to win the national championship.

Photo courtesy of the Shootin? Utes

Engineering major and Shootin’ Utes member Thomas Fairbanks competes in a preliminary tryout for the U.S. National Team in the Naval Sciences Building on Sept. 30.