Staying Sharp on the Line

Imagine standing at the line with your gun aimed at the target while all of your competition stands behind you. Your entire team and coaches watch as you complete your match.

No pressure.

The thrill of a sporting event like this is what drives members of the North Dakota State Marksmanship Club, a team that is made up of competitive rifle and pistol shooters.

Like many of the competitive clubs at NDSU, the Marksmanship Club is one that deserves a little more recognition. This club is welcoming to all levels.

While the team finds plenty of success in competitions, they are at a disadvantage due to the fact that they are only able to practice once a week.

Getting four hours of quality practice time once a week, the team travels to the Red River Regional Marksmanship Center on Wednesday nights to sharpen their skills.

President of the Marksmanship Club Grant Johnson said, “These Wednesday nights are pretty important to us because they’re our only practice opportunities.”

With competitions in places like Colorado and Georgia, these student-athletes are used to missing plenty of school and having to work hard to keep up with their studies.

“It’s definitely tough,” said Johnson. “It gets to be long spans away from school, but definitely not as bad as other sports.”

With so much time away from campus, it takes plenty of dedication for these student athletes to be successful.

Recently taking a business trip to Colorado, competitors and coaches alike agreed this was a beneficial opportunity (if not for the competition side, for the team bonding opportunities— including two days in the car together).

“It was a great experience,” shared first-year shooter Bryan Krbes. “We had a lot of fun and got to see a ton of shooters. It was good to get in the rhythm of having a match.”

Jim Ladwit, one of the coaches agreed by saying “We had a very productive match. We went down there and shot really well. Had a bunch of shooters that had some personal bests.”

While many Millennials have a reputation of a limited attention span, this group works hard to stay sharp and controlled.

Since shooting is a sport that takes plenty of practice and focus, Ladwit is proud of how his team works,

“They’re very dedicated to their sport and everything they’re longing to achieve,” he said.

Johnson also agreed, “You have to be very mentally prepared to go into a match and deal with adversity. We’re in a very controlled sport, and when something happens, you have to move on and not let it affect your match.”

The club has experienced a rise in members this season.

“A couple of friends from school brought me,” Krbes said.

Johnson said that the numbers have definitely grown, and it’s probably due to word of mouth or members bringing their friends or roommates.

As for leadership on the team, Johnson says the seniors work their hardest to provide leadership for the younger classes, not only because of their experience, but to ensure that the club continues to grow and develop even after they leave.

“All of us want the club to keep going and we want it to stay competitive,” Johnson added. “We all feel like it’s part if our job to make sure everyone feels comfortable and that we help them reach their full potential as marksman.”

With big goals for this season, the team will compete for the next time in November and hopes to participate in the air pistol championship in December.

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