Rifle Challenges Itself with National Competitions During the Summer
Dan Jonas competed at both the USA National and NRA National Championships
Coming off of a 2013-14 season that saw the program debut in the nation's premier conference, the Great American Rifle Conference, the Navy rifle team has been hard at work this summer looking to further its development and prepare for the upcoming 2014-15 season with its participation in a pair of national competitions. In June, seven Midshipmen shot at the 2014 USA Shooting Rifle & Pistol National Championships, while rising sophomore Dan Jonas recently competed at the National Rifle Association (NRA) National Smallbore Championships in July.
During the week of June 22, Navy was represented in Fort Benning, Ga. by the seven-person group of rising seniors Alex Berry, Brandon Thompson, rising junior Jodi Cull-Host and rising sophomores Jordan DiPaola, Zach Gibson, Brandon Pippin and Jonas. A weeklong event, the Mids had an opportunity to compete amongst some of the United States' best shooters in smallbore, standing air rifle and prone rifle contests.
In smallbore action, the men and women shot in three positions from 50 meters outdoors. Jonas, who finished with a 2250-point total, led the foursome of male athletes, who shot in the 3x40 competition (40 shots in each kneeling, prone and standing). Out of 78 entrants, Jonas ranked 43rd. Gibson (2235, 50th), DiPaola (2208, 58th) and Pippin (2144, 70th) rounded out Navy's male shooters. For their efforts, Gibson, DiPaola and Pippin earned honors as the top three D-level competitors.
Cull-Host also saw action in the smallbore event as she finished the 3x20 competition with a score of 1110 to rank 50th of 73 shooters.
Berry and Thompson joined their teammates Cull-Host, Jonas, Gibson and Pippin in the 10-meter standing rifle event. Cull-Host led the group of six as she posted identical results of 407.4 and 407.4 during the two-session competition for a final score of 814.8. In the field of 89, she finished 16th and just 1.3 points behind Katie Bridges for the top score amongst female collegiate shooters. Berry was the next highest finisher as she ended the event with a score of 807.8, good for 41st overall.
Amongst the male competitors from Navy, Jonas once again took top honors as he completed the series with a score of 1208.9 to rank 46th out of 86. In a tightly-packed group, Gibson (1206.0, 50th), Pippin (1203.6, 52nd) and Thompson (1202.6, 53rd) all finished within 6.3 points and seven positions of Jonas. In competition between D-level shooters, Gibson was the top ranked participant.
The 50-meter prone rifle event was the final discipline that Navy's athletes shot in at Fort Benning. Berry was the highest finishing Midshipmen shooter as she led the way with a grand total of 1217.0 over the two sessions. Amongst the field of 54 female competitors, the rising senior placed 22nd overall and second in Class D. Her score was just 5.1 points shy of Lorelie Stanfield's high-score for collegiate women. Cull-Host was close behind with a score of 1214.4 (28th overall).
Thompson was the lone male Midshipmen to complete the 50-meter prone event. After shooting a 591.3 in the first session, Thompson improved by 2.9 points for a 594.2 and a grand total of 1185.5 points to rank 82nd of 95 shooters.
In total, Navy's seven shooters composed the largest group of collegiate competitors at the Nationals.
Later in July, Jonas was back in competition as he tested his skills at the National Rifle Association (NRA) National Smallbore Championships in Bristol, Ind. Competing against the highest level of NRA shooters in the nation on the weekend of July 19-20, the rising sophomore fired a combined score of 2377 out of a possible 2400. In the Junior National competition, Jonas' score of 1186 placed him in a tie for third, while his 1191 in the Expert Division contest earned him top honors and a first place finish.