Senior marksman sets sights on Kentucky
On April 15, Bryer signed a letter of intent to be part of the Morehead State University rifle team, which competes in the Ohio Valley Conference of the NCAA.
Bryer, who grew up around guns and fired his first gun at 3 years old, began shooting at Scarborough Rod and Gun Club, a stone’s throw from his Dresser Avenue home, four years ago as part of a rifle team. His interest in the sport, he said, “evolved from there.”
Rifle shooting combines great mental and physical concentration.
“There is a lot of mental preparation that goes along with the sport. Once you get the physical part down, it is mentally how you treat it.”
Bryer said when he first joined the shooting team at Scarborough Fish and Game Association, he didn’t know much about collegiate rifle programs, but the more he heard about them, the more he realized it was an opportunity for him to continue his love of rifle shooting posthigh school.
Bryer said he was looking at three other schools besides Morehead State: University of Tennessee at Martin, University of North Georgia and Wofford College in South Carolina.
The collegiate rifle team, he said, shoots both .22-caliber small bore rifle and air rifle. The small bore includes shooting at a target 50 feet away with 10 bull’s-eyes from three different positions – prone, kneeling and off-hand. Air rifle is shot standing up from 33 feet away.
It is a very competitive part of college athletics.Bryersaidthereisa7percent chance of competing in rifle shooting in college based on the number of junior shooters in the country and the number of roster spots on college teams.
“There are a number of states that are hot on rifle shooting, but Maine is not one of them,” said Bryer, who would like to study pre-dental or pre-veterinarian at Morehead State.
In a few short years, Bryer has become one of the top rifle shooters in the state. Bryer placed first in a Junior Olympics qualifier in Augusta earlier this year, earning him a chance to compete in the Junior Olympics Championship at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado several weeks ago. Lydia Odlin, Bryer’s teammate and classmate at Scarborough High School, also qualified.
Although he didn’t do as well as he had liked, Bryer said competing in air rifle at the Junior Olympics was a memorable experience.
“We were standing in the exact same spot all the Olympians have shot from. It is the most prestigious event in our sport,” Bryer said.
Bryer is part of the first recruiting class of Alan Joseph, who took over as head coach of the Morehead State rifle program last July. Prior to coming to Morehead State, Joseph coached at Xavier University, leading the program to 12 NCAA Final appearances from 1982 to 2005. Morehead State is ranked 17th in the nation in rifle shooting.
“I am very happy to announce this recruiting class,” Joseph said in an April press release from the school. “(They) are all very talented shooters. Their unique interests and abilities will lead to success on the rifle range and in college life.”
Bryer said he is excited about the future of the program under Joseph, who won an NCAA title in 1996 and coached two Olympians — Jason Parker and Thrine Kane — while at Xavier.
Training begins in August for the first meet, which is held in mid- October. Meets continue into November, before breaking until January. The season continues until the national championship in March.
Bryer, however, is not the only member of his rifle team that received a college scholarship for rifle shooting. Odlin received a scholarship from the Civilian Marksmanship Program. The scholarship, based on her performance on the rifle range and in the classroom, can be used in her pursuit of higher education.
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