Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Additional Time To Practice Paid Off For Matarese
Anthony Matarese Jr. is just 24 years old and less than 2 years out of college, but he accomplished something this year that no shooter had done before – he won both the U.S. Open and the National Sporting Clays Championship.
Photo: National Sporting Clays Association
Anthony Matarese Jr. holds a college degree in economics, but he enjoys shooting and hunting too much to take an office job.
"It wasn't anything I really set out to do, but at the same time, it's my goal to win every shoot I'm in," the Pennsville, N.J. resident said. "It was pretty cool afterward when I realized I'd won them both in the same year, but at the time I didn't really feel like I'd done anything all that spectacular."
The Nationals victory came just last month at the National Shooting Complex in San Antonio, Texas. The U.S. Open wrapped up in early June in Jennings, La.
"This was the first year I'd had in awhile when I could totally dedicate myself to shooting. I didn't have school hanging over my head, with all the studying at night.
"I shot a lot in high school and I continued to shoot through college, but I just didn't have the same kind of time to practice."
An Early Start
Matarese's family has owned M&M Hunting Preserve outside Pennsville for longer than he's been alive. A sporting clays course was installed in 1991, just a few years after the game was first brought to the U.S. from Europe.
"I remember shooting a lot when I was young," he said. "I think I was 7 or 8 when I tried (sporting clays) for the first time."
He was a world-class competitor by the time he was in high school and had made an annual habit of earning National Sporting Clays Association All-America honors. He also played prep soccer and was a committed student.
He attended Franklin and Marshall, a liberal arts college in Pennsylvania, and double-majored in finance and economics. He finished up his bachelor's degree in the spring of 2007, but opted to forego a career on Wall Street – at least for now.
Instead, he went back to Pennsville to work in the family business and conduct shooting lessons. He teaches at Pennsville and at other locales all over the East Coast and into the Midwest.
"I thought about (entering the corporate world) – I could've worked just about anywhere I wanted. But I like shooting and being outdoors too much to take an office job. I've always know I wanted to do something related to shooting and hunting, so it doesn't make sense to be doing anything other than what I'm doing right now.
"Most people who come out here (to the preserve) work 9 to 5 so they can shoot or hunt, or they retire so they can do more of those things. I just figured I'd get an early start."
Much Yet to Accomplish
Most shooters don't reach their peak until they're in their mid-30s, so Matarese likely has a lot more big wins ahead of him. He has some specific goals he'd like to achieve as a competitor.
"I really want to win the World Sporting and the World FITASC," he said. "I was 2nd in FITASC this year and 3rd the year before, so moving forward, those would be my two main goals.
"I'd also like to tack on a few more U.S. Open and Nationals wins. Every year I'd like to win one or the other, and then make the podium (3rd place or better) in the other one. I think those are realistic goals."
> In competition, Matarese shoots a Beretta AL391 Urika 2 semi-automatic. "I started out with a 20-gauge over/under, but I've shot an autoloader since I was 10," he said. "I like them because of the light recoil and I've never had a reason to change. My gun doesn't break on me that often and even when it does, I can usually fix it in about 2 minutes."
> He's also sponsored by Fiocchi ammunition, Pure Gold chokes and Hidefspex shooting glasses.
> To contact him for lessons, call (609) 685-0704 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.