NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament isn't the only madness this March

2014 NRA Intercollegiate Pistol Championships

Fairfax, Virginia - Before the tip-off to the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament later this month, collegiate athletes from 16 schools around the United States will converge on Fort Benning, Georgia for the the 2014 NRA Intercollegiate Pistol Championships.

Beginning in just four days on March 8, the six-day championships are a part of the 3rd Annual Army Strong Collegiate Shooting Championships at Fort Benning and will determine the top collegiate individual and team champions in Intercollegiate Free Pistol, Standard Pistol, Open Air Pistol, Women's Air Pistol and Women's Sport Pistol.

Who gets to go? Competitors qualified for the championships through shooting in the annual NRA Intercollegiate Pistol Sectionals, held throughout the U.S. between January and February.

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Collegiate Rifle Teams gunning for a chance at the Championships in Kentucky

7th ranked Army's NCAA Qualifier was Senior Day for Richard Calvin, Joseph Todaro, Michael Matthews and Zachary Wells - image from @Army_Rifle
7th ranked Army's NCAA Qualifier was Senior Day for Richard Calvin, Joseph Todaro, Michael Matthews and Zachary Wells - image from @Army_Rifle
Fairfax, Virginia - March Madness is officially kicking off this weekend as teams around the nation raise their rifles for a shot at qualifying for the 2014 NCAA Rifle Championships in Murray, Kentucky. With events in Fort Worth, West Point, Lexington, and Columbus, the qualifying events are the first step in earning one of eight invitations to the big dance in Kentucky.

Though competitions are taking place all throughout the nation this weekend, most of the rifle world is zeroed in on Murray State's Pat Spurgin Rifle Range where top ranked West Virginia joins #4 Nebraska and #5 Jacksonville State in their push for the overall prize.

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Kentucky senior opens her range bag for Shooting Sports USA before NCAA Championships

University of Kentucky Wildcat Emily Holsopple

Fairfax, Virginia - Barb Baird of Women's Outdoor News sat down with Kentucky Wildcat Emily Holsopple, one of two seniors on the University of Kentucky rifle team (the other being her brother), to ask the same question she asks every accomplished shooter: What's in your range bag? Watch Emily and the rest of the Wildcats shoot for Kentucky's second national championship in NCAA Rifle next month at the National Collegiate Men’s and Women’s Rifle Championships on the Murray State University campus.

She’s a “wildcat,” this college co-ed named Emily Holsopple, and she’s poised to help bring her shooting team, aka the Kentucky Wildcats, to an NCAA Championship in March when she competes in 50m, 3-Position Smallbore Rifle.

Shooting since the she was 11, this quick study won the Women’s 50m Rifle 3-Position Junior Olympic National Championship at the age of 14 and never looked back. Recruited by the University of Kentucky for its prestigious college shooting team, she also has earned All-SEC Academic Honors. Last year, she won the silver medal in 3-Position at the 2013 National Championships.

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NRA Competitive Shooting Division carries America's shooting sports traditions into the 21st century

Doug Koenig at the 2013 MidwayUSA & NRA Bianchi Cup Colt Speed Event

Fairfax, Virginia - My list's #3 is the successful year in NRA Competitive Shooting. While all may seen quiet in the cold winter months, the Competitive Shooting staff is working hard to make sure it continues offering a wide range of shooting activities to everyone interested in our great American tradition - from novices to world champions.

How many activities? The NRA sanctions more than 11,000 shooting tournaments and sponsors more than 50 national championships each year.

While not as visible as Camp Perry or the Bianchi Cup, NRA Competitive Shooting's largest event actually began yesterday. The National Indoor Rifle & Pistol Championships is the biggest competition of the year, bringing in thousands of shooters who participate comfortably from their backyards in sectional tournaments across the country.

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NRA Youth Programs gets another great intern from Hillsdale College

Anna PfaffFairfax, Virginia - Readers of NRABlog might remember the name Hillsdale College. Not only for their shooting programs, but also their incredible collection of students. This summer, there is a new Hillsdale face around headquarters ... and her name is Anna Pfaff.

Pfaff, a teammate of past intern Joe Kain has been given the NRA Youth Program internship reins. There she will work with Shooing Sports Ambassadors, NRA Days, the Winchester Marksmanship Program and more.

Now you may be wondering how a male and female could end up on the same collegiate team. Well, Hillsdale is not your average college. Located in southern Michigan, Hillsdale College is one of select group of universities that competes in shooting sports at the national level.

Anna is one of two female shotgunners on Hillsdale Shooting Team. In her freshman year, Anna competed in a long list of events including Trap, Skeet, Five Stand, Sporting Clays, as well as International Trap and Skeet. First year highlights include a first place in ladies international bunker trap at the SCTP Central Midwest Collegiate Shotgun Championships. The victory came after a sudden death shoot-off.

I had the opportunity to shoot a few rounds of trap with her over the weekend, and trust me; you don't want to bet against her.

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Collegiate shooters race through fun shoot obstacle course before NRA championship

Columbus, Georgia - We've already covered the fun shoot from this past spring's NRA Intercollegiate Rifle Club Championships at Fort Benning, Georgia, but we thought you might like to see it in action. Above you can watch a couple two-person teams run through the four stage course.

For a quick refresh, the fun shoot's four stages were:

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Lindenwood Lions miss sweep of events by one point on road to history in San Antonio

Lindenwood University shooters hold up 'X' for their tenth consecutive ACUI shotgun championship

San Antonio, Texas – For the tenth year in a row Lindenwood University was called to the podium as the first place Division I team of the Association of College Unions International Clay Target Championships. Granted, it's not like they can even fit atop it. Lindenwood has as strong a presence in attendance as it does on the scoreboard. The picture above displays roughly half of their team.

With an overall team score of 2249 out of 2350, Lindenwood University held 50 points over second place Texas A&M University and 121 on third place Bethel University.

More on Lindenwood's tenth ACUI Clay Target win...

NRA recognizes best collegiate rifle shooters following NCAA Rifle Championship

2013 NRA Collegiate All-American First Team Smallbore Rifle

Columbus, Ohio - After West Virginia University finished celebrating their school's historic 15th national title in the NCAA Rifle Championships - or more likely took a break from celebrating - the NRA held its 2013 All-American awards banquet.

Shedding their shooting jackets for a dressier attire, the top collegiate rifle shooters in the country returned to the Ohio State University campus to find out who was this season's best of the best.

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Country's best collegiate shotgun shooters receive high honor from NRA

First Team 2013 NRA All-Americans in shotgun

San Antonio, Texas - After there were no more clays to break at the 45th Annual Association of College Unions International (ACUI) Clay Target Championships at San Antonio's National Shooting Complex, the NRA announced this year's rosters of All-Americans in shotgun for the 2012-2013 season.

The All-American award has recognized the top collegiate shooting sports competitors in the rifle, pistol and shotgun disciplines since its creation in 1936.

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