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    December 14, 2021 Lynchburg, Va. RSS |

    Liberty University’s shotgun team hosted its first competition in three years at the Liberty Mountain Gun Club (LMGC) Saturday afternoon, prevailing against regional rival Virginia Tech, 451-416, in a Sporting Clays scrimmage.

    The Flames and Lady Flames entered a total of 14 shooters, and their team score was based on the total of the top five individual shooters on the 11-station Sporting Clays course, located just up the mountain from shotgun range.

    Newcomer Zack Reaves from Wilson, N.C., who recently graduated high school with enough college credits to enroll as a junior at Liberty for the spring semester, joined the roster and was the scrimmage’s high scorer, firing a 96.

    “He’s an NSCA (National Sporting Clays Association) AA shooter who is going to be a great addition to the team, and we’re excited to see what he can do for us this spring,” Liberty Head Coach Roger Johnson said. “He was primarily recruited for his Sporting Clays capabilities, and he was a natural fit. He has a lot of good chemistry with the team, and he’s going to be a great addition going forward.”

    Reaves was followed by sophomore Carl Pongs (90), freshman Austin Applegarth (89), freshman Max Henderson (89), and senior Elijah Labrozzi (87).

    Liberty had competed against Virginia Tech at the ACUI Upper East Coast Regional Championships in Glenn Dale, Md., winning the High-Overall Team Award and finishing first in the Sporting Clays and Super Sporting Clays competition, second in American Skeet, and third in American Trap. The Hokies placed third overall in combined American events, second in Sporting Clays, third in Super Sporting Clays, fourth in Skeet, and fourth in Trap.

    “It was great not only to have Virginia Tech up there, but to have their coach, Barry Moore, be able to attend and participate as well,” Johnson said. “Although the event was closed to spectators, we are hoping to be able to host more competitions in the future with participants and spectators.”

    He said plans are in the works to host James Madison University in another scrimmage in January and a team to be determined in early March. Between those events, the Flames and Lady Flames will travel to the inaugural Mid-Atlantic Cup Sporting Clays and Super Sporting Clays competition on Feb. 19 at Shane’s Sporting Clays in Summerfield, N.C., where they will compete against Montreat, Charleston-Southern, Virginia Tech, JMU, and Clemson.

    “The Mid-Atlantic event is a new competition that our program has put together and we are hosting it this year on an invitational basis, inviting other teams to compete with us,” Johnson said. “We wanted to make the tournament at a neutral course central to all of the teams participating.”

    Liberty’s roster for the spring semester now stands at 16 team members as the Flames are also excited to be welcoming back junior James Bushnell, who took the past year and a half off after previously competing at the ACUI Collegiate Clay Target Championships as a sophomore.

    He will be competing in the three spring semester events to contend for one of 10 spots on the travel team that will travel to the 2022 ACUI Nationals in San Antonio, Texas, in late March. After finishing runner-up last year, this will be the Flames’ and Lady Flames’ final season to be classified in Division 3, before moving up to Division 2.

     

    By Ted Allen/Staff Writer