In a sport where first and last place can be separated by centimeters, the Ohio State Pistol team is once again the best in the land.
The Buckeyes won their sixth NRA Intercollegiate National Championship Thursday and senior Joe Totts is leaving OSU with his second consecutive individual National Championship in standard pistol, according to an OSU press release.
The NRA has National Championship competitions for open teams — where both men and women compete — and for women’s teams. Individual National Champions are awarded in Free Pistol, Standard Pistol, Open Air Pistol, Women’s Air Pistol and Women’s Sport Pistol.
OSU won its title in the open team competition, the second such championship in program history with the first coming back in 2000. The Buckeyes four other championships were claimed in the women’s team competition in 2000, 2003, 2004 and 2009.
OSU shot an open team score of 6,310 to take first place over the U.S. Naval Academy (6,277) and the U.S. Military Academy (6,239).
After firing his 60 shots in the standard pistol competition, Totts was once again on top with a score of 556, improving his championship score in 2013 when he shot 548. Along with his National Championship, Totts wrapped up his prolific career with NRA First Team All-American honors in standard pistol and Second Team All-American honors in both Free Pistol and Air Pistol this season.
The OSU women’s team, including seniors Kimberly Hullings and Mariah Skiles who shot for their final time, took first place in the women’s sports pistol competition and third place in the women’s air pistol competition.
In the overall women’s team competition, OSU took second-place with an aggregate score of 2,649, falling just short of MIT with a score of 2,669.
Hullings earned a silver medal in the women’s two-gun aggregate competition and finished in fourth place for the women’s air pistol competition.
Also leaving the OSU pistol team this year is senior team-captain A.J. Tourigny, who earned NRA First Team All-American honors in both Free Pistol and Air Pistol this season. Tourigny leaves Columbus an eight-time All-American and two-time Academic All-Big Ten student-athlete.
After OSU finished its dominant shooting Thursday, coach James Sweeney was named the 2014 NRA Distinguished Coach of the Year. In more than 15 years as coach, Sweeney has led the pistol team to all six of its NRA Collegiate National Championship titles and coached eight student-athletes to 26 NRA Collegiate Individual Championships.