The Fresno State shooting team recently wrapped up its fourth year with the most success in its history, sending its the seniors with a third-place finish in a national competition in San Antonio, Texas.
The team is a club sport at Fresno State and is the only collegiate shooting team in California, which means all competitions take place out of state.
The Bulldogs placed third in Division 3 at the Association of College Unions International Clay Target Championships in San Antonio.
The shooting team also participated in the Upper West Coast Championship in Boise, Idaho, in October and the ACUI Western Super Shoot in Tucson, Arizona, in March.
Junior Logan Engelman is one of the team leaders. He specializes in trap shooting. Engelman has been shooting competitively for almost 10 years and brings experience to the team.
In Boise, team members placed first through third in every event, and the team as a whole placed first. Engelman won first in trap and skeet shooting.
“That was probably our best shoot we’ve ever had,” Engelman said. “Five of us went up there, and we all shot really good for whatever reason. The sun aligned with the moon, and we shot real good.”
Engelman said the team did not perform as well in Arizona. They had decent scores, but they were not good enough to beat the other colleges, he said.
The most important competition of the year was in San Antonio, and the team’s third-place finish there was its best showing in a national event.
“It’s really hard to shoot there, because you pretty much have to shoot a perfect score to get into a shootoff,” Engelman said. “I shot 100 straight, which means I didn’t miss any targets in trap. There were 12 of us that did that, so I was in a 12-way shootoff for first place.”
Engelman ended up placing third and said that shooting a perfect score does not guarantee a victory.
The shooting team grew out of the former gun club, which recently disbanded due to a lack of student interest. Engelman said most of the club participants were more interested in competing than casual shooting, which was not the club’s goal.
Engelman said members of the gun club figured out that they could go to competitions and, if they won, they could win money for the club.
None of them had ever shot at a competition before, Engelman said, so they were unsuccessful.
The shooting team started up and improved every year, even though it does not receive much financial support from Fresno State. Because of the small amount of school funding, the team relies on fundraisers, and members have to pay the rest of the expenses out of their own pockets.
Placing third in San Antonio was great for the team, Engelman said. The seniors were especially happy because that was their last experience.
“There’s three of them there that are not going to be able to shoot with us next year, and this is the way they’re going to be able to remember their senior year,” Engelman said. “Especially because we’ve never placed at the nationals in Texas in any event as a team or individuals, so it was a big relief that we made something big happen that year for those seniors.”