Local woman part of national championship pistol team

Local woman part of national championship pistol team

Image Credit: Lori Feeney

Amanda Ackerman of Bolivar is a member of the Ohio State University pistol team, which capped off an undefeated season by taking first place at the 2022 Intercollegiate Nationals held last month in Talladega, Alabama.

The OSU team bested the United States Military Academy by 10 points and topped The Citadel by 26 points to take the title. This is the Buckeyes’ second national title in a row and its third in four years.

A junior at Ohio State, Ackerman scored a personal best at a qualifying event prior to the national competition in sport pistol, standard pistol and three-event aggregate, which combines sport, standard and air pistols.

The daughter of Charles and Ann Ackerman, Amanda did not begin shooting competitively until the age of 16 when she joined the Ohio Rifle and Pistol Association. In 2018 she was part of the national championship team.

Ackerman, who grew up hunting with her family, said shooting is a stress reliever for her. “I was in cross country and track in high school, and those are sports where you have to physically work hard,” she said. “I like shooting because it’s more of a mental sport. So even though you're not getting physically tired out, you're mentally exhausted by the time you're done with a shooting match. It kind of serves as a stress relief for me.”

How a competition works

Competitors shoot at targets using two types of handguns: .22 handguns and air pistols that fire .177 caliber metal pellets, discharged through the barrel by a prefilled air tank.

“In an air pistol match, you take 60 shots in an hour and 15 minutes,” Ackerman said. “You can only load one pellet at a time, but there is still enough time to talk to our coaches or sit down for a minute, just as long as we get our 60 shots off in an hour and 15 minutes.”

Things get a little more fast-paced and complicated with the .22, which is used in two events, sport pistol and standard pistol.

“In sport pistol we take 60 shots total,” Ackerman said. “We shoot five shots in five minutes for 30 shots. And then for the other 30, we shoot five at a time, but we have to shoot one-handed. So we have three seconds to lift the gun and shoot, with seven seconds in between each shot.”

The standard pistol event requires shooters to take 20 shots of slow fire. “We have to shoot 20 shots of timed fire, which is five shots in 20 seconds, and then 20 shots of rapid fire, which is five in 10 seconds.”

Ackerman doesn’t see competition ending with graduation. “I definitely see myself still popping into shooting matches here and there after I graduate, just so I can keep involved in the sport and with the people,” she said. “A lot of the same people go to the same matches, and it's just nice to catch up.”

Ackerman is majoring in animal sciences and plans to continue graduate studies in veterinary medicine. She was named a Scholar Athlete by OSU, which requires a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 while participating in sports.

In addition to shooting, Ackerman is an avid snowboarder and skier, although she said she doesn’t have much time for either right now.

That’s because in addition to maintaining good grades and competing as an athlete, Ackerman volunteers for the 2nd and 7 Foundation.

“It’s a program where student athletes read to second-graders, talk to them about our sport and talk about the importance of school,” she said. “There’s a reason the word student comes before athlete. You can’t be a student athlete without getting good grades.”

Ackerman also volunteers for Strong Girls United by serving as a mentor for a first-grade girl, teaching the importance of mindfulness, exercise and breathing techniques. "The breathing techniques help during stressful situations during sports competitions and in life," she said. "We encourage the idea of empowerment to help girls become strong and confident."

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