Ashland University Student to Compete in National Collegiate Pistol Championships

Ashland University Student to Compete in National Collegiate Pistol Championships
AU senior Jessica Syme poses outside of the range at the 2017 National Championships at Fort Benning, Ga.

3/5/18 ASHLAND, Ohio – For the second year in a row, Ashland University student Jessica Syme, a senior from Westfield Township in Medina County, Ohio, will be competing in the National Intercollegiate Pistol Championships that will be held at Fort Benning, Ga., March 17-20. Syme, who is an accounting and finance major at Ashland University, is a 2015 graduate of Ohio Virtual Academy.

Syme will be one of 20 young ladies from colleges and universities across the nation competing in women’s events based on their scores during the sectional competition held at Ohio State University on Feb. 10. Syme will be competing in the Sport Pistol event after placing third in that competition at the sectionals. She is ranked 15th on the list of national competitors for Women’s Sport Pistol.

At the championships, Syme will be competing against students from Ohio State University, University of Akron, the U.S. Military Academy, MIT and the U.S. Coast Guard, just to name a few, as the Intercollegiate Pistol Championships include all colleges and universities in the U.S. regardless of their division or size.

“I am very excited to be attending Nationals for the second time. Competing at Ft. Benning last year was an amazing experience, especially getting to meet and make new friends from literally across the nation. Although I am not on a team from my school, I was excited to cheer for members of my shooting family,” Syme said. “Nationals is truly an amazing experience of not only shooting, but of joining other individuals in the competitive spirit. Every time I think about Nationals, I can’t help but smile, and I cannot wait to compete again this year.”

Syme first started in shooting sports more than eight years ago.

“One of my dad’s friends recommended that we try a local 4-H club that had shooting sports and focused on firearm safety. We did, and soon the 4-H club became an activity for my entire family,” she recalled. “One of our 4-H advisors recommended that I try out for The Ohio Rifle and Pistol Association’s Junior Pistol Program.”

Syme shot as a member of the ORPA Junior Pistol Program for five years, coached by Fred Totts. The ORPA Junior Pistol team has won the title of NRA Bullseye Pistol National Champions for Junior Pistol Team 10 times. She has aged out of the ‘Junior’ division, but plans to continue to compete as a collegiate.

“I have shot on the winning four-man team at the NRA National Bullseye Pistol Matches for the past three years. I also claimed the title of High Junior Lady at the NRA 2016 National Bullseye Pistol Matches and have previously competed at the USA Shooting Junior Olympics,” she said. “I practice year-round with the ORPA Junior Pistol Program and Coach Totts strongly encouraged me to compete collegiately as well. This is my third season as a Collegiate Pistol Shooter and will be my second time attending the NRA National Collegiate Championships.”

The purpose of the NRA Intercollegiate Pistol Championships is to determine the National Collegiate Individual and Team Champions in Free Pistol, Standard Pistol, Open Air Pistol, Women’s Air Pistol and Women’s Sport Pistol. The National Collegiate Team and Individual Champions in ROTC Standard Pistol will also be determined.

“Throughout my collegiate shooting journey, the professors and staff of Ashland University have been outstanding supporters of my sport,” she said. “I appreciate all their encouragement. I am honored to compete at the championships two years in a row as a student from Ashland University.”

Those interested in more information regarding the national competition can visit --

Ashland University, ranked in the top tier of colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2017, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( deeply values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.                                                                                ###