SDSU student aims for Olympics

Jamie Tanata

Jamie Tanata

Brian Beaman, freshman 18, General Agriculture of Selby, SD placed 46 out of 81 shooters about two weeks ago with a sub-score of 2209 overall at the National Junior Olympic Rifle Championships in Colorado Springs, Colo. April 7-17.

“I didn’t do as quite as well as I hoped, but it was a learning experience,” Beaman said.

For Beaman, the 10 days involved practicing, attending clinics, and competing for a national title.

With Beaman’s farm background, he has been involved with shooting ever since he was three years old and at a competitive level at age eight when he joined 4-H.

“Shooting has always been a part of my life,” Beaman said as he practiced shooting with the beebe gun, pistol, and archery when he was young. However, in the past archery was his main focus. “I just decided to concentrate on archery all through high school,” when he competed in 4-H Shooting Sports on the state and national level.

“My parents were a big influence, and it’s something I can do where I am not dependent on team members,” he said.

Beaman’s profound skill with the .22 riffle was not entirely known until this fall when he joined SDSU’s Rifle and Pistol Club.

“Its always been a goal of mine to make it to the Olympics with rifle but in Selby, SD they have no range facilities or the time to do that,” he said.

Also, Beaman was forced to switch to something else because the type of archery he was involved with is not available in the Olympics.

To qualify for the Junior Olympics one must meet the top qualifying score of 535. The Junior Olympic competition will consist of two rounds of 1200 to determine the best rifle shooter and will be narrowed down to the top eight.

“The national title gets you recognized,” Beaman said since the top two competitors are eligible for the Olympic Developmental Team. The Olympic Developmental Team enables shooters to enhance their skills by providing them with support, clinics, ammunition, and travel money to attend national competitions which is only for members under 20 years of age.

“Brian is a nationally ranked archer, and that has helped him,” said SDSU Rifle Team Coach, Sean Balsiger. “He has the mental aspect in the .22 riffle for a national competition.”

Beaman wasn’t on edge about the national competition either.

“It’s more of a mental than a physical game,” he said.

For Beaman, he has competed in world qualifiers and world championships for archery before, however this was the first major national event.

Beaman practices five to six nights a week and will resume practicing as he normally would for any competition.

During the final rounds of the competition is when the steaks are high and the competition becomes a mental sport.

“It gets very intense and very pressure packed,” Coach Balsiger said.

Beaman plans to continue shooting for the next three years.

“I would like to shoot rifle in the NCAA Division I and get some more experience there, and then hopefully make the trials and go onto the Olympic Team,” he said.

Beaman said if it is a possibility to turn his talent into a career he will, otherwise he will have his major in General Ag. with a minor in Agronomy to fall back on in farming. Balsiger is quite optimistic in regarding Beaman’s future.

“The people that do really well, are the ones that come in and really commit themselves to the sport,” Balsiger said.

“This is a big step towards accomplishing my goal of making the Olympic Team,” he said.

“It’s just the first of many steps to getting there,” Beaman said.