Michigan State Spartans take first win in NRA Rifle Club with authority

2012 NRA Championships

Each March, as much of the country is gathered around televisions watching the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, I'm out covering some NRA-brand March Madness for the blog. Four years ago we started the NRA Intercollegiate Rifle Club Championships to go alongside the NRA Intercollegiate Pistol Championships and they've created quite a bit of action.

More on the #9 Story of 2012 - Michigan State sweeps NRA Rifle Club ...

Amos Peck receives his High Individual Aggregate award from NRA Board Member Walt Walter

Coumbus, Georgia – Last night's awards ceremony for the NRA Intercollegiate Rifle Club Championships saw the week's top shooters come collect their accolades.

Michigan State, whose shooters took all of the top awards in both team and individual, took the stage to a round of applause many times throughout the night.

"It feels great," said Michigan State rifle coach Keith Hein. "It's been a long year, we've worked hard for it."

Hein's son is USAMU shooter Joseph Hein, so he is no stranger to the rigors of honing your skill through disciplined practice. Although Michigan State's rifle team is only able to practice about twice a week, the coach has found different ways to help the shooters improve.

"These athletes also help us coach local homeschool programs," Hein said. "I think this coaching is as beneficial as the individual training to isolate skill defects the athletes might have themselves." An added bonus of the program is to hopefully bring out new shooters to replenish the ranks when students graduate.

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2012 NRA Championships Columbus, Georgia – There's a whole different brand of March Madness being played out in Georgia.

On the United States Army Marksmanship Unit's hometown range, Thursday played host to the final phase of the NRA Intercollegiate Rifle Club Championships — smallbore.

Although heading into the finals of the team competition with a 69 point lead, Michigan State still had some work to do. A cross-fire, miss-fire or sudden cross breeze could open the door for looming rivals such as Penn State or cross town foes from the University of Michigan to swoop in at the last second. What they needed was another strong performance from shooters like Tyler Luce and the Peck brothers if they were going to win the 2012 NRA Smallbore Rifle Championship.

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Michigan State's Amos Peck shoots 590 to take individual air rifle title

Columbus, Georgia – Also starting today at Fort Benning were the NRA Intercollegiate Rifle Club Championships. With the Pool outdoor range, site of the Smallbore Championships, packed with Free Pistol shooters, the rifle competitors could be found indoors shooting the Air Rifle Championship.

The United States Army Marksmanship Unit's indoor range was large enough to accommodate every rifle shooter into one relay. No need to wait for additional relays to determine who won, once the cease fire was called the stat officers had all the scores they needed.

Last year's individual champion, Michigan State's Clayton Peck, was unable to get a repeat win on account of his brother, Amos, having the better aim this year. Amos' 590 bested second place's Tyler Luce, a fellow Spartan, by 13 and drew a crowd of finished shooters to watch the last few shots.

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