Pistol Club targets the competition

Mar 4th, 2009 | By | Category: Campus Group

Abby Jo Moore

Being a part of the Missouri State University Pistol Team may involve a little more than simply aiming at targets and pulling a trigger.

For Matthew Rottler, the club president and a senior in business management at Missouri State, shooting can be exhausting. “Shooting (is) the most challenging thing I’ve ever done,” he said. “It’s 90 percent mental.”

With the challenge, though, can come much success. Unbeknownst to many, the pistol team has been a sports organization on campus since the 1970s. They are consistently invited to the national competition, placing in the top 10 schools in the nation consecutively for the past 13 years.

Rottler heads the team, but no official coach guides them from year to year. “It’s all self-taught,” he explained. “We teach each other.” Each member passes on their knowledge to the next, therefore maintaining the pistol team through shared student experience and example.

One member in particular, the only girl on the team, had never shot a gun before joining. With a little practice and some guidance, Alex Griffeth quickly advanced to win the national competition a couple of years ago with 574 points out of 600 points, eventually competing internationally and even trying out for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

With sectionals just over two weeks away, the team continues to practice twice a week.
According to Rottler, this year is a “pivotal year to make it” because of all the new members. Many of the previous top members have graduated, so the new crew needs a chance to establish their records.

No reason to worry, though, because the guys are keeping up with the pressure. The team has already proven successful in the two home matches against Texas A & M University and North Georgia University, some placing first individually and others among the top five. They continue to compete with various schools, including “all the big shots,” as Rottler put it, shooting against the Army, Navy, Marines and other tough competitors.

As a team of eight members, they each bring a unique flair to the group with their talents and individual reasons for enjoying shooting.
“I like it because you have to push yourself,” said David Nicholson, freshman criminology and psychology major. “You can’t blame anybody else for messing up your shots.”

A little friendly competition even entered the air when Nicholson talked about club president Rottler.

“Beating Matt (Rottler is) the No. 1 goal of everybody,” Nicholson said with a smile, while the rest of the team laughed in agreement.
The team welcomes new members, inviting anyone interested to come shoot on club days in the Hammons Student Center basement, no matter the extent of their experience.

“Just learn to shoot,” Rottler encourages. “We do have a good time.”

Last year brought an impressive turn-out, and over half of the participants were female. Most, like Griffeth, had never shot a gun before.

Although the open shoots have not been officially scheduled yet, they will take place once or twice a month.

For more information, contact Matthew Rottler at Rottler316@missouristate.edu.

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