SSG Friend Wins President’s Rifle Match, Lovre Sets New Record at the 2015 National Matches
August 3, 2015Civilian Marksmanship Program▸The First Shot▸SSG Friend Wins President’s Rifle Match, Lovre Sets New Record at the 2015 National Matches
By Ashley Brugnone, CMP Writer
CAMP PERRY, Ohio – SSG Kristoffer Friend, 29, of the U.S. Army Reserve, earned the prestigious President’s Rifle Trophy after firing a finals score of 97-5x during the President’s 100 Match Shoot Off at the 2015 National Trophy Rifle Matches. Paired with his qualification score, he reached an outstanding aggregate score of 395-15x.
SSG Friend got his start in shooting by joining up with the Connecticut shooting program in 2001. Showing promise in the sport, he had already been enlisted on the Army Reserve shooting team in 2006 – picking him up after his junior season was over. In 2007, he served his first full year on the team.
Since then, he’s become a Distinguished High Master and has reached the President’s 100 numerous times. This year’s President’s 100 Shoot Off was his second, and it was his second time winning.
Going two-for-two in Shoot Offs, SSG Friend must know the formula for success in winning the prestigious match.
“It’s never going to be routine,” he said. “But I definitely was not as nervous as I was that first time. Being up near the top of the shoot off is a little nerve wracking, but I know that I had good zeroes on the gun, and the wind wasn’t doing anything crazy, so I had good confidence going into it.”
He continued, “It’s like the Boston Marathon of shooting. Everybody wants to make the top hundred. Winning it is a big deal. It’s just one of those trophies that if you’re a highpower shooter, everybody knows about it. And with the shoot off, everybody watching, it can be pretty nerve wracking.”
The President’s Rifle Match is one of the most celebrated events during the National Matches. Competitors fire 30 record shots during the qualifying match, with the Top 100 competitors receiving special medallions for being named to the “President’s 100.” The Top 20 competitors compete in a 10 shot Shoot Off style match to determine the overall winner – making this match unique to others.
Even though the historical value and significance of the Shoot Off can give a few butterflies to even the most experienced marksman – especially settling into the moment with the very first shot, according to SSG Friend – remembering the fundamentals is key to successfully overcoming the tension and staying focused.
“Practice as much as possible, and it all comes down to the basics,” SSG Friend said. “You know, everybody tries to buy new equipment, the best ammo, but it really comes down to sight alignment, trigger control, position, and that’s really what everybody need is to practice on – the basics.”
Though at the head of the pack in the President’s Match, SSG Friend admitted that he’s been in a competitive slump of sorts this year. Now, with his win on one of the most coveted stages in the shooting world, he’s gained back a little more self-assurance for the future.
“I had that on my mind this morning, just trying to do my best today, and get rid of all the bad shots I’ve had so far this week. And it worked,” he said. “I think building off of today, going forward to the next few matches, I’m going to have a lot more confidence.”
High junior of the match was Matthew Lovre, 18, of Jeannete, PA, with an exceptional aggregate score of 391-14x – a new National Record. After missing the President’s Hundred last year by one point, Lovre did more than make up for that point lost by finishing this year in eighth place overall.
With his remarkable Shoot Off performance of 98-3x, Lovre managed to keep a calm demeanor throughout the competition – even alongside some of the best marksmen in the world.
“It’s an honor to see some of the nation’s greatest shots here all on one line, competing for such a magnificent trophy and championship,” he said.
He went on, “I enjoy what I do very much. I don’t get nervous. I’m out here for fun.”
In the past, Lovre has taken advantage of the educational opportunities offered by the CMP during the National Matches, such as the Small Arms Firing School and the USMC Junior Highpower Clinic. He’s also connected with the PRPA (Pennsylvania Rifle & Pistol Association) and traveled with the group to Camp Perry for the fourth year.
“Now, I’ll just hang my plaque on the wall and get ready for next year,” he said. “I want to thank the CMP for holding these matches. I enjoy them very much, and so do all of our juniors.”
For a complete list of results, visit http://ct.thecmp.org/app/v1/index.php?do=match&task=edit&match=11024.