By Kyle | March 11 2013 18:50

NRA Intercollegiate Pistol Championships begin as part of 2nd Annual Army Strong Collegiate Shooting Championships

Standard Pistol shooters at the NRA Intercollegiate Pistol Championships

Columbus, Georgia - Tomorrow morning officially kicks off the 2013 NRA Intercollegiate Pistol Championships on Fort Benning – just outside Columbus, Georgia.

The championships take part during the 2nd Annual Army Strong Collegiate Shooting Championships. Hosted by the United States Marksmanship Unit, the event is the largest multi-discipline, shoulder to shoulder, collegiate shooting sports championship event in the United States.

The USAMU's headquarters is home to a collection of top of the line ranges that will easily accommodate the pistol shooters, who have been attending the championships here for years.

Over the next three days, more than a hundred collegiate shooters from sixteen colleges from will battle it out for this year's National Collegiate Individual and Team champions. Competing in Intercollegiate Free Pistol, Standard Pistol, Open Air Pistol, Women's Air Pistol and Women's Sport Pistol, it promises to be one of the most electrifying Championships in years.

NRA Intercollegiate Pistol Championships competitors

Invitations to the match were sent out earlier this year. Top shooters and teams, determined by scores earned during the NRA Intercollegiate Pistol Sectionals, are now prepping for a win.

More than 200 colleges and universities offer NRA affiliated rifle and pistol programs. Those earning spots at this year's championships include Clemson, Ohio State, University of Michigan, the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy, Penn State and Virginia Military Institute. But the bigger story is who won't be there.

Absent from the 2013 championships are Nick Mowrer and Emily Meyer ... the men and women champs from 2012. Mowrer graduated from Pikes Peak Community College and Meyer from the United States Naval Academy. Their departure leaves a vacuum at the top - especially in Mowrer's case.

Ohio State University shooter at the NRA Intercollegiate Pistol Championships

A four-time Open Aggregate winner, Mowrer's skills often eclipsed those his competitors. By how much? How about a 100 points much. Take last year's numbers for example. Mowrer won with a score of 1700. The next top four scores, on the other handed, totaled 1603, 1601, 1595 and 1591.

An unparalleled shooter during his era, the competition for this year's Men's title promises to be considerably closer. Three of the top five shooters from last year are scheduled to return and return hungry ... hungry for a chance at the title.

And while the 2012 Women's Aggregate champion (Emily Meyer) is gone, the 2011 and 2010 champions are still here.

No defending individual champions means the titles are wide open. That also means no shooter will have to bear the weight of defending a title. An arduous task at best. That means that we're all but guaranteed to see new faces on stage during Thursday night's award ceremony.

There promises to be a great deal of hustling and bustling here at the USAMU's range this week. That's because the Army championships will play host to five additional events (including the NRA Intercollegiate Rifle Club Championships this weekend). The Army will also perform a show of capabilities during the Army Strong Experience that puts their latest vehicles, firearms, ordnance and airborne on display.

Shots for record begin bright, but not all that early, at 9:00am on Tuesday.

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