Climbing the Ranks

  • By Sara Wells
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  • August 20, 2014 01:17 PM
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Spurgeon at the USA Shooting National Championships in Fort Benning, Ga.
From a 12-year-old boy training for one of his first rifle competitions, to a 20-year-old man claiming junior titles, Garrett Spurgeon has risen to the top of the USA Shooting world.
Spurgeon has taken his shooting to the next level over the past year, earning three medals at the 2014 USA Shooting National Championships. He placed first in the junior men’s 10m air rifle and 50m 3 positions, and second in the men’s 50m rifle prone. His finishes helped him clench a spot on the USA rifle and pistol team for the 51st International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) World Championships, set for September.
“I want to treat [the championships] just like the Junior Olympics or a college match,” Spurgeon, a five-time All-American, said.  “It will be different because of the travel, but I’m going try to go into that competition and treat it like any other. My main goal is to stay consistent.”
Consistent is just what Spurgeon has been, not only in the USA Shooting realm, but also when competing for the West Virginia University rifle team. A junior, Spurgeon has been a Mountaineer for the past two years, contributing heavily toward the squad’s back-to-back national championships. While he has been practicing for eight years, he credits his consistency and improvement as of late to his commitment to the Mountaineers.
Hoping to improve his scores and shot at a medal at the World Championships, Spurgeon, a Canton, Missouri, native, will return to WVU this week to shoot alongside his teammates, something that his success this summer kept him from doing.
“Looking back to where I was a few years ago, I have come a long way,” he explained. “My scores, my attitude and my mental preparation have improved tremendously over the last few years. WVU has played the biggest role in those things improving and changing.”
Shooting with a team proved to be exactly what Spurgeon needed to push his scores to the highest he’s ever shot. Team competition plays a big part in that, and the relationships Spurgeon has established help keep it fun.
“I especially like shooting at school because there’s always someone there. It’s a lot easier to shoot when someone else is around,” the civil engineering major said. “There’s no place like home, but shooting in Morgantown is a close second.”
While Spurgeon continues to improve, he’s never satisfied.
“I have a whole year or two to work on things and try to improve, but the Olympics are always in the back of my mind,” he allowed. “I have to take it one step at a time, and when that step is the next step, then I’ll try to do my best there.”
Looking ahead, Spurgeon has the opportunity to continue to succeed. Potentially two more national championships, competing solely in the open division of USA Shooting and the 2016 Summer Olympics await him. While accomplished in the shooting world, the young shooter’s career is just starting.

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