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Women’s Pistol Places Eighth In Intercollegiate Championship

By Gina Yip and Pietro Russo

The MIT pistol team placed first in the women’s air pistol event and eighth overall in the nation at 19th Annual Pistol Intercollegiate Championships hosted by the National Rifle Association. It was held in Atlanta, Ga., at the Tom Lowe Shooting Grounds, the site of the 1996 Olympic shooting competitions. From March 23-27, the team competed in five events: free pistol, women’s air pistol, standard pistol, women’s sport pistol, and open air pistol.

The first event was free pistol, in which shooters use a pistol with a six inch barrel and a hair trigger. The 50m range for this event was semi-outdoors. The weather was cold and rainy that morning causing shooters to misfire as a result of having numb fingers. Scores are out of 600 points (60 shots, 10 points max each). Pietro Russo G scored a 509, his personal best for that event, and placed ninth in the nation. Tracey Ho ’99 placed 14th with a 505. Joe Foley G placed 22nd with a 484. Cheewee Ang ’01 placed 23rd with a 479. Nathan Ickes ’01 placed 27th with a 474. The free team scored a total of 1977 and placed fifth in the nation. In first place was U.S. Air Force Academy with a score of 2040; in second was University of Utah with a 2022; and in third place was U.S. Naval Academy with a 2012.

Women’s air (40 shots with a .177 caliber air pistol) was in the afternoon. Ho shot a 358 and came in sixth place, Hattie Gruneisen ’00 shot a 355 and came in 8th, and Melissa Miao ’02 shot a 344. The team won the event by two points over University of Utah, making MIT the winner two years in a row for this event.

On the next morning, standard pistol was fired. The standard pistol is a semi-automatic .22 caliber gun. Out of the 60 shots fired, 20 are slow fire (5 shots in 150 seconds), 20 are timed fire (5 shots in 20 seconds) and 20 are rapid fire (5 shots in 10 seconds). Russo shot a 523, ranking 13th in the nation. The team also included Ang shooting a 495, Brian Romo ’00 shooting a 489, and Eko Lisuwandi ’01 shooting a 459 for a total score of 1966 and ninth place.

Women’s sport was in the afternoon. This event uses the same gun as standard, but the course of fire consists of 30 shots of precision fire and 30 shots of duel fire. MIT did not qualify as a team, but Ho qualified as an individual. She shot a 516, placing 13th in the nation.

On the final day, open air pistol (60 shots) was shot in the morning. Ho shot a 550, ranking 12th in the nation. The air team also included Russo shooting a 536, Ickes shooting a 530, and Gruneisen shooting a 510. MIT placed eighth in open air with a score of 2126. Army and Navy were tied for first with 2205, and Navy won the tiebreaker (determined by the last 10 shots of each team member). University of Utah placed third with a 2190. MIT came in eighth place overall with a score of 6069. The aggregate score is the sum of free, standard, and open air pistol scores. Army placed first by one point over Navy, with a score of 6304. Ho was named to the All-American team for air pistol for a second consecutive year.

The Melarango Trophy that was funded by MIT pistol alumni was presented at the awards ceremony. It will soon become the national trophy for women’s air individual champion. The trophy was named to honor Pat Melarango, who was the MIT pistol coach for 19 years.