Ashland University Student to Compete in National Collegiate Pistol Championships

Ashland University student Jessica Syme, a junior from Westfield Township in Medina County, Ohio, will be competing in the 2017 NRA National Collegiate Pistol Championships that will be held at Fort Benning, Ga., March 20-24. 

Syme, who is an accounting and finance major at Ashland University, is a 2015 graduate of Ohio Virtual Academy. Syme will be one of 20 young ladies from colleges and universities across the nation competing in women’s events based on their scores during the sectional competition held at Ohio State University on Feb. 11.

Syme will be competing in the Sport Pistol event after placing third in that competition at the sectionals. She is ranked eighth on the list of national competitors for Women’s Sport Pistol.At the championships, Syme will be competing against students from Ohio State University, the U.S. Military Academy, MIT and the U.S. Coast Guard, just to name a few, as the National Collegiate Pistol Championships include all colleges and universities in the U.S. regardless of their division or size.

“There are no words to explain how I felt when I received notification that I qualified for Nationals. Ever since I started collegiate pistol, competing at this level has been my dream and goal. I had never completely understood when people said ‘I’m so happy I could cry,’ but in that moment I had a glimpse of what they meant. It was a beautiful moment of absolute happiness and excitement, as I knew my dreams were coming true,” she said. “Qualifying this year was important to me personally, but this is also the last year for a couple seniors from other Ohio universities who are my close friends. I can’t wait to go and compete, but also to cheer on other members of my shooting family. Every time I think about Nationals, I can’t help but smile.”

 Syme first started in shooting sports more than seven years ago. 

“One of my dad’s friends recommended that we try a local 4-H club that had shooting sports and focused on firearm safety. We did, and soon the 4-H club became an activity for my entire family,” she recalled. “One of our 4-H advisors recommended that I try out for The Ohio Rifle and Pistol Association’s Junior Pistol Program.” 

Syme said this will be her fifth year as a member of the ORPA Junior Pistol Program, coached by Fred Totts. The ORPA Junior Pistol team is currently the reigning NRA Bullseye Pistol National Champions for Junior Pistol Team, with 10 championship titles. “I have shot on the winning four-man team at the NRA National Bullseye Pistol Matches for the past two years. I also claimed the title of High Junior Lady at the NRA 2016 National Bullseye Pistol Matches and have previously competed at the USA Shooting Junior Olympics,” she said. “I practice year-round with the ORPA Junior Pistol Program and Coach Totts strongly encouraged me to compete collegiately as well. This is my second season as a Collegiate Pistol Shooter and will be my first time attending the NRA National Collegiate Championships.” 

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