It’s the competition within the competition that drives the Flint sisters.
The University of Tennessee at Martin rifle team should benefit from the addition of Galway senior Lindsey Flint in the fall, not only because she has become a pretty good shooter, but also because she and her sister Breanna, who will be a sophomore with the Skyhawks in the fall, have an additional built-in motivation every time they are on the same range.
“I was looking at different colleges,” Lindsey said. “But growing up shooting with her, we’ve developed this habit where we work off each other’s shooting. So that’s kind of been my reason to go down there with her. We’ve both pushed each other in learning how to do it mentally and physically. We have a friendly competition between each other, who would shoot better that night. We have that competition and chemistry together, and we push each other farther together than we would go if we weren’t together.”
“I asked my coach what the chances were of my sister coming here,” Breanna said. “He said, ‘I don’t know. What would be the advantages or disadvantages?’ I told him the same thing. We have a competition between ourselves, and that boosts us up. Also, I can keep track of her and make sure she’s getting her stuff done for school.”
Breanna started shooting in eighth grade, Lindsey when she was 12, and both competed under coach Chuck Boykin for the Galway Fish and Game Club’s Junior Rifle Club, both earning scholarships from UTM. The club also sent Heather Tillson (Class of 2009) and Steve Hahn to UTM’s rifle team. Hahn will be a senior in the fall.
Lindsey, 17, will enter her freshman year undecided on a major, but she is considering psychology. It’s a fitting field, considering the mental aspect of the sport she has chosen.
“You have to learn how to block everything else out and focus on each individual shot instead of something that happened earlier that day,” Lindsey said.
Breanna, 19, said her course of study has deterred her from her original motivation for getting into shooting.
“I always wanted my dad to take me hunting, but he never did,” she said. “I figured once I started shooting, he might take me. But I’ve still never been, because my major is vet tech, so it kind of defeats the purpose.”
So she sticks to shooting targets.
That’s a point that is sometimes lost on people when they ask in what sport she competes and she replies, “shooting.”
The stigma surrounding anything to do with guns means she first has to explain they’re just shooting targets. Then, because it’s not one of the popular televised sports, comes the explanation of the layout of the target and the point system.
Shooters take aim from a prone position, kneeling and standing, earning a maximum of 200 points from each for a total max of 600.
Breanna said her first collegiate practice was one of the highlights of her season.
“I shot 574 while everybody else was in the 540s,” she said. “So I was pretty happy with that, and my coach was really impressed. Overall, for my first year, for everything being new and having to learn where all the classrooms are and the new schedule, I think I did pretty good.”
She won All-Ohio Valley Conference Newcomer of the Year for smallbore rifle (.22 caliber target rifles) and UTM’s MVP for the women’s rifle team. The shooters also compete with air rifles.
At the OVC rifle championships in February, the school’s top two female shooters competed with the mixed team, while Breanna led the women’s team in the smallbore competition with a 571 (good for 12th in the OVC among all shooters, male or female). She added a 564 in the air rifle competition.
The Skyhawks gain, with Lindsey, another Flint who has been improving quite a bit in the last year.
“I’ve been really good in competitions this year,” Lindsey said. “My scores have been quite a bit higher than my other years. I think it’s because this is the year that really made an impact on getting into college, how I shoot and where I’m going with my shooting.”
The immediate answer to “where” is back into close competition with her oldest opponent and sibling.
And the rest of the OVC, of course.