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Area natives lead their colleges

Five area natives helped their respective college shooting teams to impressive finishes at the Association of College Unions International National Shotgun Championships, held March 18-22 at the National Shooting Complex in San Antonio, Texas.

Brett Pruett of Brownstown and Mulberry Grove natives Garrett Blankenship and Matt Blankenship helped Lindenwood University win its sixth straight national championship.

The Lions finished by hitting 1,562 targets, 67 more than runner-up Missouri.

Vandalia native Brad Cearlock and Farina native Zack Guerrettaz helped Southeastern Illinois College take home third place at nationals.

Team scoring consisted of totals from American Skeet and American Trap, and International Skeet and International Trap. SIC’s total score of 1,441 edged out Colorado State’s 1,339 for third place.

SIC finished with top-half finishes in all of their events, including:

American Skeet – With a score of 475/500, the team finished in second place out of 26 teams. SIC’s scorers for the event included: Cearlock, Mack Wayne Davis, Andrew Jackson, Ian Hurd and Alex Holtzmier.

American Trap – SIC’s group of Cearlock, Davis, Hurd, Nick Arnold and Andrew Ludwig finished fourth of 27 teams in this event. Davis shot an initial perfect round of 100 straight, and ended up the national runner-up after a five-man shoot-off. Davis won the overall Men’s Combined American Events title.

Also in this event, team members Cassie Roberts and Kylah Sellin tied for 10th place among female competitors with 92 of 100 birds.

“Those were outstanding scores,” Herrin said. “American Trap is an event that’s always won or lost by one or two birds. A score of 92 is terrific.”

The trio of Cearlock, Davis and Arnold finishied fifth in International Skeet out of 29 teams, and 11th in International Trap, out of 31 teams.

The Five-Stand team of Cearlock, Davis, Hurd, Jackson and Matt Garver finished third of 21 teams. Roberts was ninth, and Sellin 12th, out of 32 female shooters in this category.

The Five-Stand competition had an added element in a made-for-TV event that will be broadcast in June on ESPN. A shootout was held featuring the top 16 shooters from the regular five-stand event, bracketed against each other.

SIC’s Davis emerged as the champion of the event by defeating Travis Mears of Lindenwood. Cearlock took third after defeating Lindenwood’s Matt Hughes – who had won the initial five-stand event. So, in an event featuring two SIC shooters, along with two from Missouri and Colorado State, one from Tennessee-Martin and nine from Lindenwood, the two SIC competitors ended up in the top three – indicative of the way those two stepped up throughout the competition.

“Mack Wayne shouldered an enormous amount of weight for us throughout this competition, and Brad – who is our team captain – certainly did also," Herrin said.

The team of Davis, Cearlock and Ludwig finished second in the 100-bird Collegiate Sporting Clays event. Davis took fourth individually, Cearlock fifth, and Ludwig 12th. Sellin and Roberts also had very impressive finishes in the event, tying for third place in women’s competition. Sam Leatherman took second place in the D-Class sporting clays event.