The Trinity trap and skeet team competed Feb. 4 and 5 in the Lower Midwest Conference Championship at the National Shooting Complex in San Antonio, Texas. The event, hosted by the Association of College Unions International Clay Target Program, saw 148 competitors from 12 colleges across Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri. The three part competition involved trap, skeet and sporting clays, in which shooters shot targets with shotguns. In skeet shooting, shooters aim at stationary targets from different areas. In trap shooting, shooters stay in the same place while the targets move. In sporting clays both targets and shooters move. After registration and safety briefings, competition begins, in which each shooter aims her shotgun at 100 targets for each category. The shooters are scored based on how many of the 100 targets they hit.
“The actual shooting is easy, but hitting them all the time over a long period of time, that’s the hard part,” said junior Diana Riddle, “the hard part is being consistent.”
In the common occurrence of ties, the winner is decided by a sudden death shoot off, in which a competitor takes an aim at a pair of targets more difficult than those in the first round, after which her competitor does the same until one misses a target the other can hit.
“You can’t really become a consistent winner if you’re not good at shoot offs,” Riddle said.
Riddle scored 97 out of 100 targets, tieing with and entering into shoot off with long time competitor, Melissa Barringer of Schreiner University.
“She’s a great shooter, so obviously going into [the shoot off] I was pretty nervous cause she’s definitely beat me several times and vice versa. We both kind of go back and forth in shoot offs,” Riddle said, “It’s always an intimidating moment.”
Both Barringer and Riddle hit the first pair of targets.
“No matter how competitive you are at [shooting] you always wanna see everyone else doing their best,” Riddle said, “I would never want to “” and most people that shoot are very similar like “” they would never want you to shoot poorly, like they wouldn’t they wouldn’t want to beat you because they got in your head or like they wouldn’t want to beat because they like made you lose, they would wanna beat you at your best.”
At the second pair, Barringer missed the first target and hit the other.
“Shoot offs are very nerve racking for everyone,” Riddle said, “If you’re confident that you’ve practiced enough, that you know what you’re doing that helps calm you down.”
If Riddle hit both targets in the pair, she would be crowned the winner of the ladies skeet shooting.
“I could talk about mental game for ever,” Riddle said, “There’s this theory that if you think about the word “˜no’, anytime you put “˜not’ in your head, and then say something like “˜don’t miss,’ that’s gonna put the word “˜miss’ in your head and then that’s gonna be in there so it’s always supposed to be positive reinforcement and positive thoughts so it’s like “˜keep your head down, do this, do that, hold your gun here.’ It’s all about staying positive and trying to be relaxed and I’m a very positive person so that helps me in the shooting world.”
Riddle, with the prize in her sights, shot both targets, making her the winner and ending the quick but tense shoot off.
“As soon as I won and I walked off the field I was relieved but also very happy,” Riddle said, “A lot of the members we took to the tournament were very new like this was their very first tournament they had ever shot with us, so that was very cool to like be able to bring back some success for the team.”
Riddle and the rest of the team will continue to have victory in their sights as they compete throughout the season.
“The more you experience, the more difficult situations you put yourself in and learn how to work through, the better you get,” Riddle said, “That’s I think what separates really good shooters from great shooters.”
If interested in trying trap and skeet, Riddle recommends students take the PE class. Many students from the class have gone on to compete with the team.
Name: Diana Riddle
Major: mathematical finance and economics
Hometown: San Diego, California
Favorite professional shooter: Kim Rhode
Trinity student to switch lives with for a day: Andrea De Leon, my little [in Sigma Theta Tau].
Why? I would definitely want to be someone athletic, because I am not. Also I love her so much. She is so smart, so funny, so talented, so kind and I could speak mega cool Spanish.