A shot to win it all: NDSU marksmanship team shines at nationals
Marksmanship team finishes 7th
Published: Monday, April 16, 2012
Updated: Monday, April 16, 2012 16:04
Many people may have overlooked that fact that the NDSU marksmanship team went to nationals in March. Qualifying for nationals is a chance-in-a-lifetime event, but coming out near the top is something that will go down in the books. The marksmanship team did not finish in first place, but the team gave it their best shot and in the end finished seventh. Next season, the team feels that they have the ability to go down in history by winning it all.
Heading into Fort Benning, Georgia the site of the 2012 NRA Intercollegiate Championships, each member of the marksmanship team, senior Allan Johnson, a fifth-year pharmacy student; junior Robert Nelson, majoring in biology; junior Jake Oster, majoring in zoology and freshman Brandon Godbout, majoring in computer engineering, who are coached by Richard Butler, Mitch Godbout and Ashley lane, felt entirely confident that they would shoot at their best.
The results did not lie as NDSU placed in the upper echelon in both air rifle and small bore shooting. Members of the team also notched personal best scores in each category.
NDSU placed eighth in air rifle out of 15 teams with a score of 1999, 50 points higher than their qualifying score to get to the championships. As individuals, Godbout placed eighth with a score of 562 out of 600 and was named to the second all-star air rifle team.
Oster placed 34th with a score of 516, Nelson placed 42nd with a score of 489 and Johnson placed 44th with a score of 432. Oster, Nelson and Johnson all shot personal bests in the match.
NDSU also placed eighth in small-bore rifle out of 15 teams, with a score of 1858, 17 points higher than the qualifying score. In individuals, Godbout placed eighth with a score of 532 and was also named to the second all-star small-bore team.
Marksmanship team member Oster placed 29th, with a score of 481, Nelson placed 31st with a score of 468 and Johnson placed 38th with a score of 377. For Nelson, Oster, and Johnson, these were personal bests.
As a combined total from air rifle and small bore, the team placed seventh with a score of 3857. With this being the second year the Marksmanship club has been shooting, the club has progressed at a very high rate.
Coach Butler was proud of his shooters and noted that three of the four had never shot on the national stage before.
“It may have been a little nerve racking to get used to all the modern technology of scoring, the number of competitors and the level of competition. But they all settled in and did a great job,” Butler stated.
Godbout enjoyed national prominence in being named an all-star in both categories. This was Godbout’s freshman season, but he is no amateur to marksmanship shooting. Godbout was previously part of the Junior Olympic marksmanship teams.
With that experience under his belt, and a long ways to go as part of the NDSU marksmanship team, Godbout will continue to get better and better. Having a shooter with that much talent will surely help carry the team to the top in coming years.
Johnson considered it an honor to shoot in nationals.
“It was one of the greatest moments of my life. To experience shooting at nationals for your school is definitely a dream come true,” he said.
Nelson enjoyed being in the national spotlight. It was an experience he will never forget.
“Overall I’d say this trip made for the best spring break I’ve ever had. It was an amazing opportunity to compete against other shooters as well as get some help from professionals. All our practice definitely paid off,” Nelson said.
Spending free time with teammates was also something Nelson enjoyed.
“Besides the unbelievable learning experience, the activities available to us in our free time also greatly added to the trip. We got a chance to do such things as visit the Infantry Museum, watch a Rangers-in-Action demonstration, airborne demonstration, and an AMU shotgun demonstration,” he said.
“We also got a chance to shoot some of their weapons, such as a Berretta 9mm in a fast steel competition. During an event called ‘HOT EX’ we got a chance to shoot a Barrett .50 cal sniper rifle, an M110 sniper rifle, M4 Carbine, as well as a few other firearms,” Nelson added.
Much work and preparation went into the season. According to the team, they were prepared mentally to shine at nationals with the support and encouragement of each coach.
Next year when March rolls around take the time to lookout for the NDSU Marksmanship team. They are a group filled with young and relentless shooters that are only going to get better. Maybe next year the marksmanship team can join the ranks of all the other great NDSU teams and go down in history with first place honors.