Action Shooting team builds on foundation with new recruits
A 12-student roster, including three new female sharpshooters, will give Liberty University’s Action Shooting team an excellent shot at defending its Scholastic Action Shooting Program (SASP) Collegiate National Championships in Alabama this spring.
“Depending on several factors, the team is hoping to compete in three events this year,” said Action Shooting Head Coach Bill Crawford, who also serves as general manager of the Liberty Mountain Gun Club (LMGC), the training base for his team as well as Liberty’s rifle and shotgun squads.
The season will open with Liberty hosting a regional SASP competition on Saturday, Nov. 14, at the LMGC. Then, in mid-March, the Flames and Lady Flames will travel to the national championships in Talladega, Ala., before competing in a state-level championship later in the spring, with sufficient planning and fundraising.
Crawford is optimistic about how the 2020-21 season will pan out, especially with the depth of talent he has to work with.
“We have finalized a very strong roster,” he said. “We are very fortunate to have six team members returning from last year’s national championship team, and we have added six exceptionally strong new shooters.”
He is particularly excited to have added four freshmen to the team, a few with national level competition experience. Among the newcomers are Jessica Doiron and Katy Allen, who have great action shooting resumés with success at various national championship competitions.
“Another freshman, Cami Barshinger, is perhaps one of the most naturally talented shooters I have ever witnessed,” Crawford said. “She is already among the fastest on the team with rifles — which is no small feat when you consider we won all three rifle disciplines at the nationals last year — and this with minimal prior shooting experience.”
The team’s other two new members, freshman Caleb Clinton and senior Zack Larsen, both bring extremely well-rounded abilities to a sport that requires competence with both rifles and pistols, Crawford said.
“It is a challenge to find shooters with that level of diversity in their abilities,” he said.
Among the returning competitors, senior Andersen Bennett and junior Sam Verdoorn have been designated team captains and both epitomize what that means, according to Crawford.
“They are both highly accomplished shooters, and represent Liberty values to the highest standards,” he said. “We could not be more proud to call them our captains.”
Connelly Weems, a female graduate student who posted second-place showings at nationals last spring, serves as the team’s Spiritual Leader, representing the Flames and Lady Flames at meetings arranged by Club Sports Spiritual Development Coordinators Reese Braband and Heather Gollnick.
“Christian is incredibly fast with a rifle, having placed second individually in a rifle discipline in our nationals last year,” Crawford said. “Jacob and Caden both return to the team having worked hard over the summer, showing tremendous improvements in our developing pistol disciplines. We should be a force at nationals for several years to come.”