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for someone who doesn’t know much about the sport. I hate to say it, but watching someone shoot when you know as much as the gen- eral public does about our sport is about as eventful as watching paint dry. It is much more diffi cult for the average eye to catch things that we, as shooters, see as something important or in- teresting. I felt that allowed me to use my time more ef- fi ciently, and enabled me to cover the event in more detail to our audience, who are shooters and people in- terested in learning more about our sport. Most shoot- ers go online to the live feed and watch from there without the need for an up- date, which made my job more focused on the social media and photography. I felt that most people who didn’t know much about the sport were more likely to go

to Facebook, Twitter, or Ins- tagram to see updates be- cause they’re more comfort- able with social media. I had to have the balance of giving people the insight and depth of what was going on while putting it into a language ev- eryone would be able to un- derstand and follow. One thing I decided I

wanted to do was video the last shot in the Final. It’s the most intense part of the match, it takes about a min- ute, and is easy for people who aren’t familiar to get a glimpse of what it’s like while you’re at the range watching the Final. Aside from watching the


45-minute Final, there’s re- ally no other way to catch the excitement involved with a sport that can seem so dull on the surface. As far as NCAA Champi- onships go, it was hard to beat the intensity that this

one involved from before the fi rst shot. UAF had a split re- cord with West Virginia this year, and they were look- ing to beat WVU at home to win championship 11. WVU was looking to add to their 16-Championship dy- nasty. On top of everything, the weather had only got- ten colder (-30 the morning of smallbore!). UAF had a 12-point lead after Day One, and WVU was still hungry for the championship. It came down to the last relay, with UAF having a 2-point advan- tage over WVU (which is so close you might as well say they are tied with 1,200 points still up for grabs for each team). Obviously, I’m partial to UAF (Go Nooks!). So bear with me for a min- ute (ha, punny). UAF has also had a rich history in the college rifl e world with 10 championships, and a plethora of top three fi nish-

es. It would have been awe- some to watch them win 11 at home. Unfortunately for my ego, but rightfully so – WVU shot amazing Air Rifl e and won their 17th cham- pionship with class. I know the shooters and coaches from both teams; they are all top-notch shooters and even better individuals. They all work incredibly hard for the championship each year and this year was the closest it has been since I arrived at the collegiate level fi ve years ago. It’s hard for me to be upset for too long, because the college rifl e world is so small – you know everyone and like seeing each other succeed. Congratulations to the Mountaineers and every- one who made the NCAAs in Alaska happen, it was an awesome experience that I will never forget.

(Left to right) National Team member Sagen Maddalena, National Champion West Virginia and the rest of the top- three teams: University of Alaska Fairbanks and TCU.

Photos by: Michael Liuzza

May 2015 | USA Shooting News


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