This year’s shooting team is made up of six men and two women, comprising a team of eight skilled, dedicated shooters.
Ashely Ellis, a junior history major, has been on the team for two years. “It’s about concentration, focus, thinking through your actions before you do something,” she said.
The shooting team is relatively new to BJU, as the sport kicked off its first season in the spring of 2016. Despite being new, the team took first place in the men’s centerfire national championship in Talladega, Alabama, last year.
To keep up their winning streak, the team has been practicing and participating in local competitions in preparation for the spring season, which officially begins in February.
Ellis said, “This semester is a little more about practicing.” The shooting team most recently competed in Wounded and Recovering, a shooting competition held at the Spartanburg Outdoor Range.
Daniel Seibert, the shooting team coach, said funds from the Wounded and Recovering, or W.A.R., fund competition go towards supporting Greenville County police officers who have been hospitalized. Next year, the competition will be extended to include officers in the city of Greenville as well.
In the fall, the shooting team participates in the Glock Sport Shooting Foundation, or GSSF, competitions.
These matches are set up in three stages and have a variety of categories with skill levels ranging from amateur to master. Beth Labadorf, a graduate assistant in communication studies, said, “By working together and helping each other train better and focus better, we’re then able to get a better score as a unit.”
The shooting team competes in the Scholastic Action Shooting Program, or SASP, which includes colleges such as Clemson, Florida State, Bethel and the Citadel.
The SASP has several shooting categories, and the BJU team competes in both the 9 millimeter and 22 millimeter categories. Seibert said SASP is a great opportunity to meet other people.
Ellis said this program gives the team more opportunities to share their faith with unbelievers.
She said that, because only one team member shoots at a time, the other team members are able to talk to contestants from other colleges when they are not shooting. Ben Chisholm, a junior criminal justice major, said one of his favorite things is learning new techniques from other shooters.
Each of the team members is scored individually, and these individual scores are combined into a team total. Labadorf said, “Most of the teamwork comes in encouragement in how we’re participating. A lot of verbal encouragement, a lot of just being there for one another.”