Clarksville, Ark.-Inside the classroom, Grace Brown is a mild-mannered honors student who is pursuing her long-time ambition of becoming a classroom teacher, like her mother. Outside the classroom, Grace is a dead-eye national champion clay target shooter.
She won the distinction of becoming the University's first individual national champion in any sport by out-shooting the competition in international bunker trap at the 2017 Association of College Unions International Collegiate National Tournament in San Antonio, Texas, in March. The early childhood education major from Booneville, Ark., hit 99 out of 125 targets to advance to a shoot-off. In the final round she hit 22 out of 25, then hit 3 of 5 targets and, in the third round, hit 8 of 10 targets to secure the title. By winning the event against competitors from school's such as Texas Tech and University of Oklahoma, Grace earned a spot on the First USA Shooting Collegiate Team as well as a $1,000 scholarship.
"It was a surreal moments," she said. "My heart was racing. it was the most nervous I've ever been in a competition. We were all emotional after it happened."
Overall, it was a great national tournament for Ozarks' emerging shooting sports program, which began just seven year ago. Freshman Summer Sanders of Greenwood, Ark., finished fourth in international bunker and Jeff Proctor, a junior from Hector, Ark., was the national runner-up in International Wobble Trap in the open division and finished 15th in American Trap and 11th in American Skeet.
By Larry Isch, Director of University and Public Relations