Summer of Shooting

Written by Meghan Barnes

Sophomore biochemistry major Ida Brown finished an hour of recitation for organic chemistry before snagging a Grab ’n Go lunch at A.J.’s and sitting down with me to talk shooting. Ida was recruited to our seven-time national award-winning shotgun team her sophomore year of high school in California and returned from nationals last fall, placing sixth in the women’s division. With the summer quickly approaching, Ida has a lot more shooting to look forward to, but she’s also staring down the barrel of the MCAT.

“Medical school is the plan-slash-the hope. We’ll see what happens,” she said. “I’m going to begin studying for the MCAT this summer, so I guess that will tell me exactly how on track for that path I would be.”

I listen to her travel schedule for the summer and wonder how she’ll fit in studying for a test that would literally kill this writer.

“I’m actually traveling to Missouri in the middle of finals week to shoot a state bunker competition to qualify to shoot at the Junior Olympics this summer at the Halter Center,” Ida said. “From there to SCTP high-school nationals in Ohio, where my brother will shoot. That starts the day Junior Olympics ends. I’ll fit in the U.S. Open for NSCA in June in Kansas and would also like to shoot the Northeast regionals for NSCA in Wisconsin the week before we’re supposed to be back on campus for fall training. I’m excited about it.”

The first time she heard about Hillsdale’s team was after they’d won their fourth national championship. Similarly, her first experience at a national championship was when she watched the Hillsdale College team as a high schooler. The choice to come here wasn’t difficult.

“My dad had talked about the school. He liked it,” she said. “He knew they had a good team, so it was all the more reason to look at them. That’s when I reached out. I visited; I loved the campus; I loved the team. They offer so many nice options here that you aren’t going to get at many other colleges. Practicing as much as we do doesn’t happen at other colleges.” 

The Hillsdale College shotgun team practices three times a week, a hundred targets a day, and they have the option to reload and practice more on the weekends, which Ida uses to her advantage.

“Hillsdale College has allowed me to travel all over for shooting and to compete against some of the best collegiate-level shooters in the U.S.,” Ida said. “Shooting for the College has introduced me to several new disciplines including, doubles trap, FITASC, and bunker.”

Though Ida’s best discipline has always been skeet, with sporting clays a close second, she has gotten involved in bunker for the first time her life since relocating to Hillsdale.

“I am actually going to start shooting bunker because the College has made it a viable option for me,” she said. Growing up, the nearest bunker was two hours away, but here, it’s ten minutes down the road. 

Getting her foot in the door with bunker this summer will help Ida make strides toward at least one of her ultimate goals: getting onto the world’s team.

“With the backing of USA Shooting and doing world championships, it will be more feasible for me to continue shooting while also continuing to pay for college—and maybe medical school at some point.”

Meghan Barnes is communications coordinator for public relations and media outreach at Hillsdale College. She has lived in Hillsdale since 2012, has three daughters, and is married to psychology professor Collin Barnes. When not writing for the College, Meghan is trying not to look at her phone, working in the yard and garden, or trying to find a way to perform on stage at The Sauk.

Published in May 2021