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Air Rifle Team takes a shot at championships

Contributed by Clemson Air Rifle Team

From left to right: Kevin Mangan, Daniel Gonzalez, Geoff Graves, Kaitlyn Sandford, Rachel Mangan, Hansen Mou and Derek Devera posed after their championship appearance.

The Clemson Air Rifle Team, a club sport, competes nationally against clubs, NCAA and ROTC teams. The team was formed in 1991 and founded the South Eastern Air Rifle Conference, where they have a shot at

championship status.

On March 18-20, the Clemson  Air Rifle Team traveled to Fort Benning Military Base in Columbus, Georgia for the 2016 National Rifle Association (NRA) Intercollegiate Rifle Club Championships. The weekend was a successful experience for the young team as they finished third in air rifle, fourth in small-bore and fourth overall.

The team has been overall champions four times previously, but with all the new members on the team, they were proud of the results. Head Coach Geoff Graves, a senior from Knoxville, Tennessee, talked about the team’s youth: “We graduated three-quarters of our team last year, so to have three freshman competitors at the championships is amazing.”

President Rachel Mangan said, “We’ve been energized by the new members who came aboard this year, and they pushed us all the way to nationals. It’s a fantastic start to a strong future of marksmanship safety and precision perfection from our club.”

In order to advance to the NRA Intercollegiate Rifle Club Championship, individual qualifiers needed to score higher than 450 in small-bore rifle and 495 in air rifle. Combined, teams needed to score more than 1800 in small-bore rifle or 1980 in air rifle. 

Mangan, a junior from Walhalla, South Carolina, scored a 584 in air rifle, and 561 in small-bore — which earned her an individual first place medal in air rifle, second in small-bore and first overall.

Other notable performances were Kaitlyn Sanford, a freshman from Springfield, New Jersey who finished with a score of 544 in air rifle and 520 in small-bore, and Daniel Gonzalez, a freshman from Columbia, South Carolina who finished with a score of 546 in air rifle and 507 in small-bore.

Hansen Mou, a freshman from Greenville, South Carolina, finished with a score of 523 in air rifle and 489 in small-bore. 

Graves talked about the season so far and the future for the team, saying, “This is a building year for us, and we still placed fourth overall … The future of Clemson’s Air Rifle Team looks really strong … I honestly think I’ve enjoyed this year as part of the club the most.”

Practices for the club are held from August to March. If you are interested in learning more information about joining the club or making a

donation to the team, contact Club President Rachel Mangan at [email protected].


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