MISSOULA – Many high school seniors across western Montana recently signed national letters of intent to officially announce where they will compete in college. The KPAX Athlete of the Week will also take aim at the next level. Abby Donald accepted a scholarship to shoot at Tennessee-Martin.

Rifle shooting is a sponsored NCAA sport, with most of the country’s teams in the east and south. Donald started shooting at 8 years old and competes with the Hellgate Junior Rifle Team.

She followed her siblings into the sport, but when they stopped competing in high school, Donald started taking it more seriously. Even after devoting countless hours to her aim, receiving the scholarship offer came as a shock.

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“I was surprised in all honesty. I was a little, ‘Whoa, that actually happened,'” said Donald. “I was excited, too, because I met the team and the coaches, and they were all really nice and were really like, ‘Oh, if you come shoot for us than this will happen.’ So it was just a great opportunity to see how a college team works, and that just really stood out to me at Tennessee-Martin.”

Donald had some of her best competitions recently to attract more attention, putting up a solid score while fighting illness at Army Nationals in Georgia and finishing just behind some successful college shooters at the Junior Olympics in Colorado.


  1. Congratulations! Collegiate level rifle marksmanship competition is a very demanding sport, requiring fitness, stamina, coordination and precise muscle control polished during endless hours of practice, both firing and non-firing. Ironically, it is about the only collegiate sport where men and women compete on equal terms and neither gender seems to dominate the competition.

    While Military academies are the powerhouse schools, many civilian colleges are up there too.
    It is amazing that with Montana’s gun culture that high school and collegiate marksmanship teams are not in every school.