San Antonio, Texas-University of the Ozarks senior Jeff Proctor topped Dawson Peer from University of Alabama to take home the 2018 national championship in international bunker trap at the Association of College Unions International Collegiate (ACUI) National Championships March 27 (Tuesday).
Proctor was among the top-6 in the championship round and eventually worked his way into the top-3 alongside Peer and George Clark from University of Arizona. After Clark was eliminated, Proctor and Peer shot ten more times and ended the round tied, extending the competition into a single elimination shoot off. Peer and Proctor both hit their first opportunity, but missed their second chance. On the third shot, the Alabama freshman missed his shot to open the way for Proctor. With pressure mounting, the veteran Proctor calmly stepped up and crushed his third shot to clinch the national title.
"It feels amazing because this is what I have worked for," said Proctor. "I really struggled early in one of my rounds today, but I bounced back and fixed what I was doing wrong and ended on a good round to make the final. I tried to stay focused on the basics in the final round. I am thankful to bring back another national championship to the U of O program."
Proctor, a native of Hector, Ark., was one of 15 national men's shooters to compete for the international bunker trap title. All 15 had to qualify during the 2017-2018 season.
According to head coach Caleb Hemphill, Proctor put in the work throughout the season and seized the opportunity in the single elimination shoot off.
"Jeff is one of the hardest working individuals when it comes to clay target shooting," said Hemphill. "I knew when he qualified for the championship round, he had the opportunity to win it. It came down to one shot with those birds, and Jeff is a first shot type shooter. He doesn't rely on his second shell. I knew when they allowed only on shell in the gun, I was very confident in Jeff's ability to bring it home. At that point, I knew it was just another day on the shooting field for Jeff."
With the championship, Proctor received a Team USA jacket and gear and a $1,000 scholarship.
It is the second individual national championship for the program.