2019 North Dakota State Across the Course Championship
The XTC season is winding down in North Dakota, and several people are gearing up for the pilgrimage east to the national championships at Camp Perry and Atterbury. Tom Thompson, Tom Headrick and Aaron Guluizza will be venturing east this coming Friday. To assist in their preparation, ND held a Leg and Garand match on Saturday, and an 80 shot XTC on Sunday to claim state championships. ND is a “closed” state, meaning you need to be a resident to be crowned state champion. This year ND residents did not “protect the house” all that well - of the individual matches fired on Sunday, only 1 match was won by a ND shooter… Congrats to all the winners.
The weather for the whole weekend was beautiful; slight breezes that had some propensity to play both sides of zero would easily give you nines. Mirage also would build and let off, and some fantastic scores were shot. It was just a great time to be outside and enjoy some ND nice.
On to the event: We only had 8 non-distinguished shooters for the leg match which means only 1 6 point leg could be awarded. Since I sold my SR weeks after going out last year, I again competed with my match rifle. Ryan Holien cheated along with me, but everyone else played by the rules and shot a service rifle. Conditions were very nice and I was able to put up a decent 487. Ryan Karrar got another 6 points to grow his total to 26, we all hope he has success at Camp Perry and can finish his journey out with a 10-point leg there. No doubt he can shoot the score required. Of note was Aaron Carico - he shot in the 460’s and had a really strong day. If only his 200 rapid would have been higher he could have been in the 470’s. Still, great to see different people have a good day. Next up was the Garand match, I did not participate but Rick Kraft got his first state championship with a 275 to earn the ND state Garand match win.
Sunday morning came with a coolness about it. Some donned jackets to stay warm. I have been training this summer and was feeling good about my chances for a good Aggregate. My HighMaster card had just arrived with an effective date of July 25th, so this would be my last match as a sandbagger. Just last Wed I had shot a personal best standing in practice with a 199-10X. As we are called to the line, a gentle breeze would mean a “no wind” zero could actually be used at Grand Forks. For whatever reason, my standing was just not there… I could not get my hold to settle at all and after an average 95 across the top I got worse on the bottom and finished with a dismal 187-2X. Hard to break 790 with a score like that... Oh well, I needed to get ready for my other matches. Russ Theurer has also been training XTC all summer and posting SEVERAL aggregates in the 790’s. His standing has been on point and he showed a very good score of 195-5X to start out the day. But that MN pistolero Travis Jorgenson showed us all how to get it done with a match winning 196-7X. Well done! Jr Alex Flores claims the Ex class with a 186-2, and Marcus Moeglein takes the MK/SS class with a 179-2X.
My sitting has been disappointing, I have shot more rounds in that position than any other this summer trying to develop some consistency. On the first string, I was able to put up a 5 & 5 for a solid clean. Second string I had 1 leaker just out, and ended with a 199-9X - pretty decent for me. Tommy T right next to me also had just a single 9 get away but he got 10 x’s. Coby and Duane Holien both go clean with 200-8X in an unbreakable tie and they both shot 4 & 6 in both strings. The plan was to shoot it off after the match, but Duane fell ill and a coin was flipped instead for the state champion title. Travis Jorgenson owned the 200 yard line and posted a match winning 200-9X. His father got the Expert Class win in sitting with a 195-4X, and Rick Kraft took the MK/SS with a 194-2X.
On to 300, the wind had picked up but was also playing both sides of zero. My relay was last to fire. The conditions during sighting period aligned with the match closely, but several of us lost a point or two on the right. Russ impressed all with a baseball sized group at 7 o’clock for a 100-0X... I had a slightly larger group up at 1 for a 99-0 with 3 10’s on the line and 1 nine just out. During scoring, the wind switched back to the other direction, I took it off my scope and as targets were brought back to half-mast it was back to the old condition. I needed another ¼-1/2 of left wind and lost 2 out the right, Russ lost a couple as well and Tommy only 1. But, Aaron G learning all the new jokes from Sarles all day got through clean using his service rifle with a very nice 200-8X. Tommy T gets the state champ 300 win with a 199-10X. Travis also had a good score of 198-4X to keep his big aggregate going. Again, Rick Jorgenson gets the Ex win with a 196-2, and newcomer (using a borrowed rifle) Jim Gades posts a dandy 193-6X in the MK class having not competed for 25 years!
600 would be the deciding factor. The mirage had built and similar to 300 there were times the wind would make a complete reversal. Miss the change and an 8 or 7 could surely show up on your target. Travis was already in the clubhouse posting a 198-4X. Having a heavier bullet would help out a little bit in the switchy conditions. Relay 1 is called to the line - Duane Holien to my left shooting a 6Turbo, Russ and I using 75 Berger VLD’s with our 223’s and Ryan Holien with a 6BRX. Away we go. I was able to snag an X for the first sighter, and a 10 next - sure wish they were convertible. I was going to try to run them as best as I could while also watching other targets for any reason to hold up. Ryan Holien shot a 100-10X across the top… Sheesh, make the rest of us look like chumps. I lost a 9 upwind on a poorly executed shot. Otherwise 10’s and X’s were coming up as I was holding on the X line at 9 o’clock out to the 9-line depending on what the wind intensity was doing. Late in the string there was a total reversal that both Russ and I caught and waited out. The 6mm’s were able to power through it as the Holiens just kept on shooting. It was a dare to see who would fire again, Russ or I. He had 2 shots left, I had 3. The mirage was starting to come back to the old condition, and then the wind. Now the question was where to hold? I was not confident, and to be honest had forgot where I was holding on the last shot. I guessed and help on the 10 line for another 10 and got through the final 3 shots. But I had lost another 9 on the back half of the string... 198-12X for me, Russ with a 198-6X. But again, it was an out-of-stater that won the match; Ryan Holien shot an excellent 199-13. I did claim the 600-yard ND State trophy, which was donated by Tommy T several years ago in memory of his father. Pretty cool to put my name on it for a year.
All the shots were fired, and the aggregate fell in place. Travis Jorgenson took advantage of the conditions and shot a near state record 790-26X; a truly great score, well done! Russ T claims the ND XTC trophy for the first time and add that to a list of ND state champ wins to include Smallbore 3P, 4P, Prone, 200-yard SB prone, LR & Palma. Talk about diversity and excellence in multiple events. I think Tom T is probably the only other individual who has won them all too. I never got the ND 3P and the 200Yd is eluding me. Will have to try again next year for the XTC win. Great score Russ, well deserved win.
Rick Jorgenson really wants his Master card, and wins the Ex class with a 754-10X. Marcus Moegein claims the MK/SS class with an expert score of 741-12X. Without Denny Coulter and Tom Reiten these matches would not exist, and Gordy Linnell ran the pits. Thank these volunteers when you can, without them we would have less opportunities to compete.
Tommy T and I headed west after the match and reflected on the weekend events, we brought a couple trophies back to Bismarck, but not as many as the year before. We will give it a go again in another 12 months…