Men's Pistol Tops Civilian Schools for Third in NationBy Evelyn Huang
The men's and women's pistol teams competed in the Intercollegiate Pistol Champion-ships held from March 20 to 22 at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The men's team finished third at the championships, improving from their fourth place overall finish last year. The team finished behind the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy.
MIT finished ahead of such schools like the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, the U.S. Air Force Academy, Texas A&M, and Ohio State University by placing third, fourth, and fifth in the three events: .22-caliber standard pistol, .22-caliber free pistol, and .177-caliber air pistol.
Following last year's national championship, the women's team endured some mishaps to finish fourth and fifth in .177-caliber women's air pistol and .22-caliber sport pistol, respectively.
Given the extreme mental nature of this sport, the Engineers' strong performance was not a surprising result.
In the first event, men's free pistol, the team of Jacques De Lalaing '97, Ben Leong '97, John Novak '96, and team captain Danny Yu '98, placed fourth out of 10 teams invited to the tournament with a team aggregate score of 1,941, only three points behind third-place Texas A&M.
De Lalaing finished 14th in the nation in free pistol with a score of 492. Leong earned 17th with a score of 487. Novak placed 22nd with a personal career high of 484 after recovering from surgery on his shooting arm earlier in the season. Seth Webster '97 placed 24th with a score of 481.
In standard pistol, the team of De Lalaing, Leong, Novak, and Webster finished third with a score of 2,069, trailing the U.S. Naval Academy and the U.S. Military Academy. De Lalaing came in 18th in the nation in standard pistol with a score of 516. Novak and Leong also finished with high scores of 534 and 526 respectively. This year, the team avoided the weapon malfunctions of last year, turning in season average scores.
In air pistol, the team of De Lalaing, Leong, Webster, and Myong-Sin Yi '98 placed fifth with a score of 2,138, only 19 points behind Ohio State University and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, which placed third and fourth respectively. Webster finished 15th in the nation with a score of 543. Yi finished 22nd with a score of 538.
In women's air pistol, the team of Yi, Tracey Ho '99, and Evelyn Huang '99 placed fourth with a score of 1,024, only eight points behind third-place Coast Guard, last year's individual national air pistol champion, led the team with a score of 348, and placed sixth individually in the nation despite shooting at a much higher level for the entire season.
Ho's Tau-7 air pistol had air cylinder problems, causing her to finish with an unusually low score of 330. In women's sport pistol, the team of Yi, Ho, and Huang placed fifth with a score of 1,511, only 25 points behind third-place U.S. Military Academy. Yi also placed sixth with an outstanding final 10 shots with score of 93.9.
Shooters earn awards
All-America and All-Star awards were also given out at the awards ceremony to recognize shooters with high average scores during the entire year.
De Lalaing was given an All-America Honorable Mention in free pistol. As the leading shooter on the team, the recognition was much deserved.
Yi was named to the All-America Second Team for air pistol as well as All-Star in women's air pistol. Yi is the first MIT woman pistol shooter to receive All-America honors, and still has one year of eligibility left.
Jane Sohn '97 was named to All-Star team in both women's air and sport pistol, repeating as one of the top women shooters in the nation.
This tournament was also the last for Ben Leong '97, John Novak G, De Lalaing, and Webster. The team looks to retool next year and is optimistic because of this year's freshman shooters, who have been training since the beginning of the academic year.
In contrast, the national tournament was also the first for new coach Will Hart, who began coaching the team just last November. Hart's hands-on coaching style has succeeded recently retired coach Pat Melaragno handsomely, and the team has responded.