Teen shoots for U.S. college

ERIC BENDER -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 7:21 AM ET

Jessica Hornby of St. Thomas had her sights on a U.S. college scholarship ever since she learned some universities have rifle teams.

"A person from Collegiate Sports of America (a placement agency) called because he'd seen stories written about me," the 18-year-old, who started classes and rifle practice last week, said from the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Miss. "I didn't know about shooting scholarships. I know now there are 30 universities or more in the U.S. with rifle teams. There are none in Canada."

Hornby's notoriety shot up as she began picking off marksmanship awards from age 13.

Hornby shoots at the East Elgin Sportsman's Association complex. Her greatest experience so far is making the Canadian national team, shooting in competitions in Munich, Germany, and Fort Benning, Ga., where she shot against Olympians.

Hornby signed the athletic scholarship with the University of Mississippi in April. She visited two other universities that wanted her and had invitations to visit two others.

"I really like it here, but I'm getting a little homesick already," she said. Her father, Ken, has been her coach, while her mother, Cyndi, schedules her meets. But she'll be getting home frequently, she said, the first time being for her high school graduation ceremony at Central Elgin Secondary school.

The year, which included the Canadian national championships in Victoria in August, has been hectic for her. "I'm a little burned out from competition," Hornby said.

But she expects to settle into the school routine, which involves shooting practice from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Thursday. Weekends are for meets. It's an all-female team and she's the first international student on the team. She's studying business insurance and risk management.

Hornby has a spot on Canada's national junior team for next year in the three-position event.

Meanwhile, at Hornby's home club, John Evers has announced that Medha Russell, Canada's top female shooter in open class, who placed ninth overall at the U.S. nationals, will be among 75 to 100 competitors at the EESA Saturday for a Level 2 International Practical Shooting Confederation match.


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