Fall 2018

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FALL 2018 PULLUSAMAGAZINE.COM 19 TARGET FUTURE your A SK ANYONE INVOLVED IN COLLEGE CLAY TARGET SPORTS what to look for when making your choice for higher education and they 'll tell you it has nothing to do with shooting. "Pick a school that has a good program for what you would like to study," says Connor Nikkola, president of the Colorado State University Shotgun Sports Team. "Although shooting may be a big part of your life right now, ultimately, the end goal is to get a degree and a career." But that doesn't mean you can't continue the sport you love. Many colleges—both two-year and four-year institutions—offer clay target programs, either as clubs or school sports. The League is doing its part to grow those opportunities, an example of which is the recent partnership with the Minneso- ta College Athletic Conference to make clay target shooting a sanctioned varsity sport. Separately, the new USA College Clay Target League now provides the opportunity for any college to compete virtually with other area institutions, just as is done at the high school level (see more about that on page 31). The bottom line: clay target shooting doesn't have to end with high school. You can continue to grow your shooting skills while preparing for your career, and being involved on a clay target team can actually help in a variety of other ways. "Students who continue to pursue their hobbies and passions during college often find the transition to college much smooth- er," says Rebekah Summer, director of institutional research and communications at Alexandria Technical and Community College in Alexandria, Minnesota. Being part of a trap team, like any organization, helps students connect with others outside of class and build lasting relation- ships, Summer says. Nikkola is an example of that. "Shooting in college at CSU has been one of the best expe- riences of my life," says the senior, studying fish and wildlife biology. "I have been all over the Midwest competing and making new friends. I would not trade the experiences I have had with my team for anything. As serious as we are we also love to have fun and that is what our team is about." In addition to fun, clay target shooting at the college level can contribute to real personal growth as students prepare for life beyond campus, says Rob Person, an international relations pro- fessor who co-coaches the West Point Skeet & Trap team. "As a competitive sport, collegiate clay target shooting can cultivate the competitive instinct and winning spirit in young men and women that will pay dividends in many other spheres of life," Person says. "Importantly, it's a form of competition that men and women can enjoy throughout their lives. Unlike many sports, shooting competitively in college can be the beginning— not the end—of one's competitive career." With thousands of colleges and universities across the U.S., find- ing the best fit for you takes extensive research and careful consid- eration. But to give you a taste of what clay target opportunities are available, here's a small sampling of colleges with established teams.

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