Coumbus, Georgia – Last night’s awards ceremony for the NRA Intercollegiate Rifle Club Championships saw the week’s top shooters come collect their accolades.

Michigan State, whose shooters took all of the top awards in both team and individual, took the stage to a round of applause many times throughout the night.

“It feels great,” said Michigan State rifle coach Keith Hein. “It’s been a long year, we’ve worked hard for it.”

Hein’s son is USAMU shooter Joseph Hein, so he is no stranger to the rigors of honing your skill through disciplined practice. Although Michigan State’s rifle team is only able to practice about twice a week, the coach has found different ways to help the shooters improve.

“These athletes also help us coach local homeschool programs,” Hein said. “I think this coaching is as beneficial as the individual training to isolate skill defects the athletes might have themselves.” An added bonus of the program is to hopefully bring out new shooters to replenish the ranks when students graduate.

The Michigan State shooters came up through the state’s 4-H program and have really enjoyed the opportunities the new NRA championship gives them.

“We’ve really enjoyed shooting down here,” Hein said. “They’re used to beating each other regularly and now they can win together. It’s a really good fit for them.”

And what does Michigan State’s Amos Peck, 2012 Individual Aggregate champion think?

“I’ve been preparing this for years,” Peck told me. “But I’ve learned the hard way that you go in confident to win and prepared to lose.”

A good outlook, and this year it definitely paid off. Amos did have a specific goal for this year, though.

“My hopes were to beat my brother,” Amos said. “We’ve always had this thing going back and forth.”

Clayton Peck was last year’s individual champion after shooting an aggregate of 1,152. Mission accomplished, Amos.

When I asked him if there were any special pre-match rituals he had, Amos laughed and said “A lot of praying.”

Thank you to all the staff, volunteers and especially the shooters who came out to the championships. And, of course, congratulations to all of our champions.

photo: NRA Blog

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