Shooting Teams added as new collegiate sport
"I'm excited that Bethel is branching out and offering potential student-athletes some sports that other schools do not have," said Bethel Athletics Director Glenn Hayes. "We are adding more diversity, something special for our student-athletes to be a part of. I am also pleased with the selection of Lance Rider as our head coach. Lance has connections everywhere and has travelled all over with shooting teams. He has a fantastic base for potential recruits. His teams have always been competitive and his reputation speaks for itself."
Rider was chosen for his success coaching shooting teams in the local McKenzie area. Under Rider's tutelage, McKenzie area teams have competed in the Scholastic Clay Target Program with success. His team won the Bronze Medal at Nationals, produced a Junior Olympic Medalist and has won state championships in 2004, '05, '06, '07, and '08 in multiple disciplines.
Rider said that the possibility that other disciplines of shooting sports becoming NCAA sanctioned is not far off. Currently, the NCAA does sanction rifle sports; UT-Martin and Murray State University have fielded rifle teams for many years.
"I'm excited for Bethel students," said Rider. "We started six years ago in this area building the sport, now the kids that have worked hard can go to the next level and get an education along with the opportunity to compete. The ultimate reward for me is seeing students get this chance."
Rider pointed out that no weapons will ever be on Bethel's campus. The guns and ammunition will be stored in a gun safe off-campus. Target practice will also take place away from school grounds. Trap shooting will be the first of many shooting programs. Rifle, pistol and possibly archery will be added at a later date.
One of Rider's assistants, Bub Edwards, has extensive experience in shooting and outdoor sports. Edwards was selected by Governor Phil Bredesen to serve on the 13-member Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission. Edwards is also a member of such wildlife organizations as Ducks Unlimited, Quail Unlimited, Delta Waterfowl, National Wild Turkey Federation, Partners for Wildlife and has served as Vice-Chairman of the TWRA Foundation.
"I think this is phenomenal [Bethel starting shooting sports]," said Edwards. "I think this will help promote shooting sports. It shows that shooting sports is not just a pastime or part-time thing, it is now a recognized college sport and offers the chance for scholarships."
It was also an exciting morning for the three inaugural signees. All three hail from McKenzie.
Lacey Lane, the daughter of Bill and Veda Lane, has been shooting for seven years. She was named to the Tennessee All-State Trap Team. Lane was chosen and attended the Junior Olympic Shooting Camp in Colorado. She also has earned JODC gold medals and has the ability to shoot three disciplines [trap, skeet and shooting clays]. While at McKenzie High School, Lane was honored with the Harold "Hoot" Gibson Award, Tennessee Wildlife Federation Presidential Award, Jessica Andrews Youth Achievement Award, Youth Leadership Carroll County and was an Academic Letterman. A very competitive person, Lane wants to improve her shooting abilities to better her team. She will major in Biology while at Bethel.
Luke Anderson, the son of Mark and Malissa Anderson, has been in shooting sports for seven years and shoots trap, skeet and sporting clays. Anderson was a multi-sport participant in high school playing four years for the Rebels' baseball and basketball teams. Anderson also played two years of golf. At McKenzie, Anderson was All-State for two years in Trap Shooting, was on the state champion team five years in trap shooting, earned the Ricky Chism Award, was All-District his senior year in baseball and was a member of the McKenzie TSSAA State Champion Baseball team. Anderson's most memorable moment in shooting is placing third in the nation in just his first year of competitive shooting. He averages 96.5% in trap shooting. Anderson is also an excellent student in the classroom. He earned the Science Award, Harold "Hoot" Gibson Award and Conservation Award. He was a four year honor student, Beta Club member, honor graduate and was ranked fifth in his graduating class. Also being sought after by UT-Martin, Anderson plans on majoring in Biology.
Brandon Sellers, the son of Dennis and Linda Sellers, has also been shooting for seven years and shoots trap, skeet and sporting clays. Sellers also played multiple sports while at McKenzie playing for the Rebels' baseball and golf teams for three years. Sellers is a five-time state champion; he won the Rudy Cup as the highest overall scorer in the state of Tennessee and has been named to All-State Teams; he has a 98.47% average in trap shooting.. He was also a member of the McKenzie TSSAA State Champion Baseball team. Sellers excelled in the classroom graduating with honors. He was a four year honor student, member of Beta Club, Science Club, FCA and Who's Who in Calculus. Sellers was also being recruited by UT-Martin and is undecided about his intended major.
Bethel will compete with other schools such as Lindenwood University (Mo.), UT-Martin, Murray State University and Union University [club team].