By winning those events, Purdue accumulated more points than any other team to win the High Overall Team Championship. In addition to the five team championships, Purdue shooters won six individual national championships.
Purdue's trap and skeet shooters have now won 52 national and world championships since the club was chartered in 1977.
The four clay target events that earn points toward the High Overall Team Championship are Olympic Trap, Olympic Skeet, American Trap and American Skeet. These annual clay target championships are sanctioned by the Association of College Unions-International (ACU-I). Purdue won its first ACU-I high overall team national championship last year after a 10-year reign by George Mason University's varsity team.
In addition to winning 11 team and individual national championships at the Texas event, Purdue had eight shooters named to the 1997 National Rifle Association Collegiate All-American Shotgun Team. Selection is based on academic achievement and performance in Olympic clay target competition.
John Voliva, a junior in pharmacy from Evansville and president of Purdue's Trap and Skeet Club, won three individual national championships. He was national champion in Olympic Trap and American Trap. The combined scores of these two events earned him the Trap National Championship and a $1,000 scholarship.
Three time All-American Steve Shillington, a senior in agricultural and biological engineering from Old Bridge, N.J., was High Overall National Champion. Shillington also won a national championship for shooting the highest combined score in the two Olympic events. This achievement earned him a position on the U.S. Olympic Development Team for the third consecutive year.
Jeff Finn, a junior in mechanical engineering from Oak Ridge, Tenn., won Purdue's sixth individual national championship by shooting a perfect score in American Skeet.
The 1997 National Rifle Association All-American Shotgun Team is composed entirely of Purdue shooters for the second consecutive year. Shillington, Voliva and Tony Colletti, a sophomore in computer technology from Lake Villa, Ill., were again named All-American. Other Purdue shooters named for the first time to the 1997 All-American Team are: Tom Arvas Jr., a freshman in management from Albuquerque, N.M.; Danny Ficocello, a freshman in computer science from Batavia, Ill.; Bryan Nemec, a junior in industrial technology from Naperville, Ill.; Andy Suda, a sophomore in mechanical engineering from Grafton, N.D.; and Kirby Woods, a senior in agricultural and biological engineering from Odell, Ill.
Charles L. Rhykerd, professor emeritus of agronomy and former associate director of International Programs in Agriculture, has served as faculty adviser and coach since the club was chartered in 1977. Rhykerd was named "The Best of The Best" of the agricultural professors in the United States in 1985 by the National Association of Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture. In 1991, Rhykerd was awarded "Coach of the Year" by the National Rifle Association.
Purdue's Trap and Skeet Club is one of 24 clubs that comprise the Purdue Club Sports Program, a part of the Division of Recreational Sports. The Trap and Skeet Club has its own facilities at the gravel pit on the south side of campus. The trap and skeet ranges are operated by club members and are open to students, faculty and staff on weekends during the school year.
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