Three ORPA Junior Pistol Program alumni recently competed at the 2018 NRA Intercollegiate Pistol Championships in Fort Benning, Georgia. Robert Delagrange, Jessica Syme, and Brett Tucker all competed as athletes from their respective universities—Rob for the Ohio State University Pistol Team, Jessica as a student from Ashland University, and Brett as a member of the University of Akron’s Pistol Club. Coach Fred Totts was proud to support his three ‘kids’ during the match, as he served as the Coach for the University of Akron’s team. Nationals are held every spring, with qualifiers determined based upon scores shot at the Sectional Matches. This year, the dates were March 17th to the 20th.
Rob qualified in Free Pistol, finishing with a score of 452. Brett finished this event with a score of 480. Brett also fired as a member of the Akron Free Pistol team, which finished in 6th place. Brett shot the Men’s Sport Pistol event, winning the silver medal. Brett shot a 536 for Standard Pistol, shooting on the Akron team that finished in 5th place. Brett also competed in the Open Air event, shooting a 557 and qualifying for the Final. He finished the event in 6th place. The University of Akron pistol club claimed its first time on the podium in the program history, a third-place medal for the Open Air event. Jessica qualified for the Women’s Sport Pistol event, finishing in 11th place with a score of 523.
The competition concludes with an awards banquet to recognize the event winners and All-American athletes. Brett Tucker claimed two All-American honors. He was recognized as member of the Second Team for Standard Pistol, and Second Team for Air Pistol. The Ohio State University Pistol Team claimed the title of National Collegiate Pistol Team Champions, beating the US Coast Guard Academy (2nd) and the Citadel (3rd). The University of Akron, Coached by Totts, finished 5th in the overall team standings. During the awards ceremony, coaches and athletes that go above and beyond for Collegiate shooting sports are recognized. One of these awards is the “Spirit of the Sport” award. One collegiate athlete is recognized each year to receive this prestigious award in honor of Bill Wayda. The award states “Presented annually to the NRA Intercollegiate Pistol Championships participant who best exemplifies the ideals that make our sport what it is today. The honoree with possess compassion for fellow competitors, strength and knowledge in the sport, a passion to excel and a proven desire to share the sport we love with others.” Jessica was recognized as the Fifth Annual Winner of this award, presented in person by Bill Wayda and Tori Croft (the NRA's National Manager of Collegiate and School Programs).
All three of the ORPA Collegiate shooters are planning to compete this summer in NRA precision pistol competitions. Rob will compete as a member of the ORPA Junior Pistol Program, as he is completing his final season as a Junior. Brett and Jessica will continue to compete as collegiate shooters over the summer. All three will return to their respective universities to compete as collegiate pistol shooters in the fall, Jessica and Brett will be seniors and Rob a junior.