As a California high school senior and national caliber sporting clays shooter, Jennifer Bandy '09 knew she wanted to come east for college. Because of a strong interest in politics, she thought "east" would have to mean Washington, D.C. "But Dartmouth offered me a chance to combine my love for politics with my love for marksmanship," she says.
Bandy, 18, was recently selected a junior All-American in sporting clays, often referred to as golf with a shotgun because competitors move from station to station to attempt a variety of shots at targets coming from all kinds of angles.
"When she's in the groove, she's right up there with the best, and not just in the juniors," says Jay Braccini, Bandy's California-based coach. "She definitely can be in the top five ladies in the country."
Chris Polashenski '07, club president of Bait and Bullet, is a believer. "I've shot with her a couple of times and she's really great," he says. "She beat the socks off me."
A program within the Dartmouth Outing Club, Bait and Bullet was founded in 1921 by J.R. Titcomb '23 "for the purpose of stimulating hunting and fishing about Hanover." The group organizes hunting and fishing trips throughout the region and gives students the opportunity to exercise their skills closer to home with practices and workshops. Bait and Bullet has seen a resurgence of interest in shooting in the past few years.
"To participate at Dartmouth in the shooting sports you have to take a firearms safety course," says Andrew Harvard '71, director of Outdoor Programs." The number of students taking that course over the past three years has grown about three-fold."
While Bandy stores her gun at Safety and Security and shoots with Bait and Bullet members at a range in nearby West Lebanon, N.H., when time permits, she also competes in sporting clays as an individual.
"My dad got me started," Bandy explained shortly before leaving for a winter term Language Study Abroad in France. "He took me to the range one day and I enjoyed it so much that someone there told him it was time to start my training."
Busy with schoolwork last year, Bandy achieved All-America status despite shooting in just two major competitions. Her goal is to work her way up to the Master class by the time she's 21.
She will spend the spring term back home in California, doing an internship and using the time to refine her sport.
"A lot of people at Dartmouth have expressed interest in trying (sporting clays) with me. There are a lot of misconceptions in our society that guns are used only in crime, but shooting has been a very positive experience in my life," says Bandy.
By BRUCE WOOD
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Last Updated: 5/30/08