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Shooting teams share skills at open house

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University of North Georgia President Bonita Jacobs congratulated members of the university’s NCAA and combat shooting teams for their accomplishments this academic year and wished them luck in upcoming competitions at an open house the students hosted at the COL Raymond C. Hamilton Range on UNG’s Dahlonega campus on Tuesday.

“You’re doing such a great job, and we’re just so proud of your success,” Jacobs told team members. “This sport highlights a distinctive part of the university’s identity, our military education mission, and our designation as the Military College of Georgia.”

The NCAA mixed rifle team hosted two NCAA Division I teams on Feb. 2 to close out the home schedule and travels to Virginia Military Institute for competition on Feb. 9. Earlier this semester, UNG’s NCAA team came from behind in a two-day match to defeat both the men’s and women’s teams from the Citadel during the Southeastern Rifle Conference (SEARC) tournament, held in the Hamilton Range.

Jacobs joined faculty members and administrators at the shooting range, located at the Pennington Military Leadership Center, where UNG cadets and shooting team members assisted visitors in taking their turn at firing rifles and handguns during the open house.

Before Jacobs and faculty members picked up any rifle or handgun, all had a lesson in gun safety and were shown operations of each gun, including M-9, M-16, Olympic air rifle and small-bore, Ruger .22 handgun and 9 mm handgun. Tori Kostecki, coach and an alumna of the university’s NCAA shooting team, said ensuring more people know the proper way to handle and use guns is one of the reasons the university periodically holds open houses at the shooting range.

“We start off teaching just basic firearms safety, then for each of the weapons we’re firing today, we walk them through the operations of each,” Kostecki said. “The basic safety that they learn here could potentially help prevent firearms accidents in the future.”

Open houses also serve to let more people know about the university’s two shooting teams, Kostecki said. On annual Family Day weekends, the range open house draws hundreds of students and their families.

“We like to hold lots of events like this because it makes people aware that we exist as a sport,” Kostecki said. “This just brings people down so they can meet us and find out more about shooting sports.”

A second open house for faculty and staff will be held from noon to 3 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 7. The open house events are being sponsored by the University of North Georgia Military Committee. Those interested in shooting should wear comfortable clothes.

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