Pistol team and veteran coach honored
Three Citadel pistol team members were selected for the 2009 All American Team while their coach Joel “Doc” Sexton was recognized with the Distinguished Coach of the Year Award during the National Collegiate Championship at Ft. Benning, Ga.
Additional honors were presented to two freshman cadets who received invitations to the National Junior Olympic Championship.
Holden Jubb, a sophomore from Monument, Colo., and an engineering major in Palmetto Battery, was selected for the honors in standard pistol. His high scores, which came against strong opponents, included a 540x600 (a Citadel team high for the year) in the win over MIT; a 526x600 against the U.S. Naval Academy; a 523x600 against the U.S. Military Academy (West Point); a 522x600 in the College Sectional at the Naval Academy; and a 517x600 against North Georgia College and State University.
Garland Moore, a sophomore from Oscar Company, earned All-America status in air pistol. Moore’s personal best for the year was instrumental in The Citadel’s victory over MIT. He posted a 563x600, which was the best score fired by a Citadel team member this year. He started the year with 548x600 and a 548x600 in the two fall matches with the Naval Academy (one at Annapolis and one on the new Citadel range).
First-year team member Caleb Knowlton of Fort Mill, S.C., and Palmetto Battery, made the All-America air pistol team. Knowlton, who is a sophomore engineering major, was one of the top qualifiers for the team this year and is the Citadel’s initial first-year All-American.
Knowlton started strong in his first competition by greatly exceeding the 520x600 score, which is required for lettering. He fired a 534x600 and continued to improve with a 547x600 in one of the first semester matches with Navy. He registered a 548x600 in the match with Ohio State followed by a 553x600 in the College Sectionals (a qualifying match for the College Nationals) at Annapolis. Knowlton finished the regular season with a 551x600 in the Southeastern Open International Pistol Sectional, which was hosted by The Citadel and that earned him a fourth-place finish behind stiff civilian shooters.
Two other team members honored were freshmen Chadwick Cleveland, a criminal justice major from Loveland, Ohio and Oscar Company, and Christopher Hudock, an engineering major from Raleigh, NC and Tango Company. Each earned invitations to the National Junior Olympic Championships at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., April 16-20.
Both shot high enough scores to be among the top 10 juniors in the country who shot for at-large slots. Hudock also qualified in free pistol.
“I suspect that his experience with high-power rifle competition, where he is a distinguished marksman, helped him qualify with free pistol,” said Sexton. “In my 36 years of coaching at The Citadel, there have only been four freshmen who have fired in pistol competition before entering college. However, this is true of most college pistol programs.”
Sexton was also honored at the College National Championships, as he was named Distinguished College Coach of the Year by the National Rifle Association, for the third time. He is also a recipient of the prestigious Olympic Development Coach of the Year Award from the U.S. Olympic Committee, which he was awarded in 1997.
The Distinguished College Coach of the Year Award came in recognition of his many and significant contributions to the college shooting programs through the success of The Citadel team and through helping promote participation by other college teams.
In addition to the three All-Americans this year, there have been 21 Citadel All-Americans on 65 teams in the past with many national individual and team champions. There have been 10 team members selected for the U.S. Olympic Development Team, including Citadel assistant coach Robert Patton ’88, who was a three-time All-American on eight teams. Patton has won multiple national titles.
Retired Chief Machinist Thelbert Almond also helps coach the team and keeps the intricate, delicate international pistols working without having to send them back to Europe for repair. This volunteer service has saved The Citadel and other schools untold amounts of money.
William Murray ’03 also helps Doc Sexton guide the squad. He was an All-American and a member of the team that won the Free Pistol Championship and runner-up for the National Aggregate in 2003.
“Having coaches help locally is terrific since I live in Newberry,” Sexton said. “I am pleased that the team is really excited about the short- and long-range future. They appear to understand the saying, ‘If it is to be, it is up to me.’ They also realize how close they are to being in the medals.”