The Twenty Eighth Annual Swanson Match

The Twenty Eighth Annual Swanson Match

One Hundred and forty-three juniors pounded well over a case of 22 caliber long rifle bullets into the backstop of Quaker Hill Rod and Gun Club’s Carrol Indoor Range over the first weekend in December as they contested for awards in the 28th Annual David L. Swanson Memorial Match.

Ashley Gillis, of the Stratford Connecticut Police Athletic League Junior Rifle Team, won the sub junior title with a 295X600 shooting a 30 shot prone match on the A-17 target. Gillis posted one of the only perfect scores on a target as she slid past team mate Autumn Smith, who posted the only other clean target of the day, by a slim two points. Smith’s second place finish came on a tiebreaker with Metacon’s Joey Beaulieu based on the last target where she shot a 99 to Beaulieu’s 96.

Stratford also wrapped up the first and second place awards in Class A as Devon Dupray and Emma Surrock went had on head match scores of 99, 97, and 96, for an unbreakable tie that was decided by coin flip. Ava King, another Metacon shooters, was third with a 291.

The Lewis classification Class B winner was Liam Ward of the host Quaker Hill Rod and Gun Club. Second place Faith Del Re, of SPAL, was sandwiched between two Quaker Hill shooters as Jack Didato came in third.

Quaker Hill scored another win in Class C with Lucas Johnson leading the pack. He was followed by Amanda Renge of SPAL and Blue Trail’s Nick Acampora.

Team competition went to the Quaker Hill Aces, Didato, Clint Grano, Liam Ward, and Gigi Loucraft. In a nod to the late Dave Lyman, 1974 Swanson Champion, Blue Trail’s BTR Gold “Do It For Dave,” Sydney Hawke, David Kuhn, Max Rook, and Justin Christian, came in second. Third place was taken by Metacon with Beaulieu, Ava King, Mike Augustine, and Logan Flebotte doing the shooting.

Three position shooters made it a contest with six of the top seven all opening with 100s prone. Moving to kneeling Blue Trail’s Mike Acampora and D.J. Titus, of Rhode Island’s South County Rod and Gun Club, made it exciting as they continued clean. Hovering behind them were SPAL’s Rose Reynolds and Blue Trail’s Laura Milukas down one, Haley Reynolds off the pace by two and SPAL teammate Hope Kavulich, down three.

Kavulich reached down deep and shot a near perfect 99 standing to leap over her competition, who fired strong standing scores but not strong enough, to snatch the title from her competition. Rose Reynolds and Acampora finished second and third overall. Class A winner was Haley Reynolds followed by Milukas and Titus.

Blue Trail almost swept Class B with Sydney Hawke and Brian Masselli, finishing one and two. Ethan Couillard, of Grasso, broke up the string.

Sweeps seemed in order as Grasso Tech took all three awards in Class C with Alex Gauthier, Kenny Smith, and Chris Dow earning the honors.

The SPAL Bulldogs parleyed Kavulich, the Rose sisters and Lauren Chechoski’s cores into a team victory. BTR Silver featured Michael Acampora, Erica Convery, Dan Wesson, and Brandon Hawke in its silver medal finish. Third place was taken by Avon Old Farms’ Feng Lu, Junyeop Ahn, Peter Du, and Wyatt Reller.

Match operations were smoothly handled by Range Officers Steve Rocketto, Ryan McKee, and Mark Wujtewicz. Jason Stansfield and Hap Rocketto scored while five members of the Coast Guard Varsity Rifle team, Randall Ford, Hunter Blankenship, Anthony Contreras, Seth Strayer, and Grayson Wheeler ran targets and kept the range tidy.

The Twenty Ninth Swanson is scheduled for Quaker Hill the first weekend in December of 2018.

About Hap Rocketto

Hap Rocketto is a Distinguished Rifleman with service and smallbore rifle, member of The Presidents Hundred, and the National Guard’s Chief’s 50. He is a National Smallbore Record holder, a member of the 1600 Club and the Connecticut Shooters’ Hall Of Fame. He was the 2002 Intermediate Senior Three Position National Smallbore Rifle Champion, the 2012 Senior Three Position National Smallbore Rifle Champion a member of the 2007 and 2012 National Four Position Indoor Championship team, coach and captain of the US Drew Cup Team, and adjutant of the United States 2009 Roberts and 2013 Pershing Teams. Rocketto is very active in coaching juniors. He is, along with his brother Steve, a cofounder of the Corporal Digby Hand Schützenverein. A historian of the shooting sports, his work appears in Shooting Sports USA, the late Precision Shooting Magazine, The Outdoor Message, the American Rifleman, the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s website, and most recently, the apogee of his literary career,
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