Liberty University Sweeps At 2021 College Nationals

The Scholastic Action Shooting Program returned to the CMP Marksmanship Park grounds on March 12-14th to hold its Collegiate National Championship. Over three days, college action shooting teams ran squads of athletes through the four-stage competition, with hopes of returning home with the coveted Tammy L. Mowry Rifle Cup and Daniel C. Hodne Pistol cup traveling trophies.

Through the course of the match, college athletes at the CMP Marksmanship Park collectively fired well over 21,000 rounds. Balancing speed and accuracy, each athlete’s goal is to complete the SASP standardized stages of steel plate arrays, with a designated stop plate to record their time. With five “strings of fire”, the athlete’s slowest attempt is tossed out and their fastest four strings of fire are added together to determine a total stage time. With squads of four athletes, these total stage times are complied to determine an aggregate time to determine who will be returning home as SASP Collegiate National Champions.

Nathan Fingeroos of Concordia University competing in the Centerfire Pistol Optic discipline, earning the title of High Overall Champion.

Despite a challenging year for travel and ammo for shooting sports athletes, teams made adjustments to train for and compete at the 2021 SASP Collegiate National Championship. Returning to the match as the 2020 Rifle Cup Champion, Liberty University was eager to repeat their performance and prove that their SASP Nationals debut was not a fluke. With nine squads of athletes, Liberty came ready to claim gold in as many disciplines as they could, but one clear goal was established not long after returning from last year’s National Championship: in 2021, come back to Virginia with both trophies.

Other collegiate teams from the state of Virginia came to win, with Virginia Tech squads claiming 1st and 2nd place in the Rimfire Pistol Iron Sight discipline, 2nd place in Rimfire Pistol Optic Sight, 3rd place in both Rimfire Rifle disciplines, and 1st place in the Centerfire Pistol Optic discipline. Virginia Tech’s roster grew considerably from last year’s single squad of four athletes to nearly a dozen, who showed impressive performances at their debut SASP National Championship. 

Virginia Tech’s Cooper Rapp shooting a Volquartsen pistol in the Rimfire Pistol discipline

Each year the traveling Daniel Hodne Pistol Cup honors the top collegiate team in the Centerfire Pistol discipline. For five consecutive years, Texas A&M’s Corps Of Cadets Marksmanship Unit has held possession of the trophy and was hopeful to keep the trophy for the sixth year in a row. The pressure was high and Liberty University was keen to defend their traveling trophy and acquire another.

With two competitive squads defending their title, the Tammy Mowry Rifle Cup remained at home in Virginia with Liberty University’s clear victory in the Rimfire Rifle Iron Sight discipline.  After a close race throughout Saturday’s match schedule, Liberty University’s consistency in the Centerfire discipline gave them 3.45-second lead ahead of Texas A&M, becoming the first college action shooting team in SASP history to hold both championship trophies at the same time. 

Liberty University becomes the first team in history to hold the SASP Rifle and Pistol traveling trophies at the same time.

Texas A&M did return home with hardware, claiming the National Championship title in the 1911 discipline, followed by Wisconsin’s Concordia University for silver. Ian Walton, a Wisconsin athlete from the Ozaukee Pistol Team, shot a total time of 40.03 and was awarded the High Overall Champion of the Rimfire Pistol Optic discipline. Ian was also recognized for third place high overall honors in the Rimfire Rifle Iron Sight discipline. Liberty University returned with additional honors, including Kathryn Allen, Cami Barshinger, and Connelly Weems sweeping High Overall Ladies titles in all rifle disciplines and the Rimfire Pistol discipline. 

A&M CCMU’s Joshua Delgado competing for team gold and High Overall Champion in the 2011 discipline at College Nationals
Liberty University’s Connelly Weems, Kathryn Allen, and Cami Barshinger
SASP athletes explore Sport Pistol in the popup tent at SASP College Nationals

With SASP’s recent addition of 10 Meter Air Rifle, 10 Meter Air Pistol and Sport Pistol disciplines, teams at the 2021 Collegiate National Championship had the opportunity to experience 10M Air Pistol with a popup three-lane air range. Recognizing that SASP is the Official Youth Feeder Program for USA Shooting, teams traditionally focused on action shooting have begun to expand their program to the international disciplines. Following their experience at National’s popup range, Liberty University is discussing creating an international air pistol team.

The SASP Collegiate National Championship will return to the CMP Marksmanship Park in 2022, planning for a three-day event over the weekend of March 11-13th, where Liberty University will defend this season’s two-trophy performance.

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