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Bethel University Wins National Shooting Championship

By Cyndi Lundeberg
By Clundeberg@wbbjtv.com

PARIS, Tenn. - The Bethel University Shooting team is home and they've brought with them the schools first national championship.

2000 of the country's best shooters competed in the National Scholastic Clay Target Championship in Illinois but Bethel took home the big win.

"Anytime you can win something like that it's really nice. Makes you feel good," Senior Matthew Palmer said.

The Bethel Shooting team is in its' fifth year and has progressed from ninth in the nation to number one and from 16 shooters to fifty. The 15 women and 35 men all receive scholarships to Bethel for their sport.

Thomas Edward otherwise known as Coach Bub says he hopes the sport he's been coaching for 13 years continues to grow, and more students can benefit.

"I've got a guy who played football who came back to me and said, 'if I get the same scholarship to go out and have fun and shoot then doing all that work in football I'm switching back," Edward said.

The team members are equally as grateful for the opportunity to mingle shooting and school work.

"It's really nice to go to college and do something you enjoy. Especially if it was books and studying all the time ugh. But being able to go to school and shoot it gives me something to do and keeps me out of trouble," Palmer said.

The shooting Wildcats took the competition by scoring 580 out of 600 possible points. In other words they only missed twenty targets. A score they say didn't come without hours of perfecting their craft.

"You cant just go out without practicing and expect to do good," Palmer said. "I mean it does take a lot of hard work and you need to put a lot of hard time. Just like you would like anything else."

Wildcats say it's not just the winning it all that's made he hard work worth it, it's about the memories created along the way.

"Oh I've had a blast! I wouldn't change a thing. I've met 100 new friends. There's several people on this team I'll be friends with till I'm old and gone," Palmer said.

Bethel University is the only University that provides scholarships for shooting. They have begun practicing for the new school year because they say this national championship is just the beginning.