Two GVSU students qualify for NRA championships

GVL / Courtesy - Cameron Zwart
Greg Quante and Alex Cyburt

Cameron Zwart

GVL / Courtesy – Cameron Zwart Greg Quante and Alex Cyburt

Mason Tronsor

Two members of the Grand Valley State shooting club have qualified for the 2016 National Rifle Association Intercollegiate Rifle Championships held in Georgia this upcoming March.

Senior Gregory Quante and junior Alex Cyburt both qualified for the national championship at the sectional match at the Jackson County Sportsman’s Club over the weekend.

“To see the forward progression of the team with more kids qualifying for nationals now is amazing,” Quante said. “It’s exciting for myself as well, getting a chance to finally go down to Georgia to compete. Overall though it’s more exciting for me to see my team progress over the years.”

Quante has qualified for the national championship competition in previous years, but due to time constraints and classes, he was unable to attend. This year, however, with a teammate alongside, he is energized and excited to make the trip for the first and last time.

The relationship between the two qualifiers can be described as a brotherly one. Quante, an established senior on the team, is not unfamiliar with the spotlight or shooting high scores.

Cyburt on the other hand, a first-year transfer student from Saline, Michigan, who had never shot a rifle in any competition before college, watched how Quante practiced and went about his business. And sometimes, the new blood even competed with the veteran.

“Since day one, Greg has always been a great resource for tips and knowledge of the sport,” Cyburt said. “Personally, now that I have gotten to the competitive level that I am at, I see Greg and his scores as a goal to beat.”

Both specialize in different firearms on the range. Quante is more of an air rifle handler, while Cyburt leans toward the smallbore side. Either way, both help the other shoot better.

Their first-year coach, Cameron Zwart, shot for GVSU when he attended. His past experience has brought insightful knowledge, hard work and dedication to both Quante and Cyburt.

“It’s about choosing to come to every practice,” Zwart said. “Practice isn’t mandatory, so these guys take the initiative to show up and put in the time necessary to achieve high-level results.”

As is clear by examining the scores, Quante is the veteran and Cyburt is still gaining on him. Together, however, the two produce a one-two punch, which is tough to beat.

Quante is averaging 500 out of 600 in the smallbore competition, while averaging 535 in the air rifle portion, which places him 13th in the conference.

Cyburt is averaging 450 in his smallbore competition this season. Due to missing the first match, his conference rank is 55th. His best score is 490.

Both have a shot to compete at nationals, but it looks as though Quante is ready to take the big step and compete for the national title. His confidence has risen in practice lately thanks to the news of qualifying.

“I searched the winning scores of past national champions and they were between 570-590 range,” Quante said. “This past week I had a really good practice. I shot a 572 in practice. So if I’m able to consistently put up 70s to 80s, I should be in a good position.”

Both will make the trip to Georgia next month. Before the wild ride, they have the conference championship meet this upcoming weekend at Purdue.