Cody, get your gun
By Stephanie Martin
Sun Star Reporter
Cody Rutter, captain of the UAF rifle team, grew up in a family that did not even own a gun. But when his friends went hunting, Rutter wanted in on the action. “Dad, I really want a gun,” a 12-year-old Rutter exclaimed, and so he received his first air rifle.
He began shooting with friends in his basement, but soon Rutter looked for a range. The Palmyra Sportsman’s Club in his hometown of Palmyra, PA, provided not only a range but also the opportunity to join his first rifle team. On the team, he received instruction on marksmanship from coach Erin Gestl. Numerous others who volunteered their time at the Palmyra Sportsman’s Club helped mentor Rutter.
Former UAF Rifle Team member Jamie Beyerle was also a big factor in teaching him and his decision to attend the university. Beyerle was looking for a good coach and a very competitive program, just like Rutter. “I wanted to find a place that would help me further my shooting career,” Rutter said.
Pushing himself and facing challenges are what he loves most about the rifle team. “It’s such an individual sport,” he said, “you can take yourself as far as you want and be as good as you want.”
Rutter feels his greatest achievement on the team was the Nanook’s regular season victory over Army his freshman year. In that match, both teams shot for their biggest scores of the year. “It was a huge match because the championships that year were held at Army and we wanted to send the message that we were able to win,” Rutter said.
Staying sharp, both mentally and physically, are important to Rutter and the rifle team. Coach Daniel Jordan added new workouts this year. In addition to the workouts, the team does mental drills and keeps a close eye on their nutrition.
The new workouts include lots of core exercise. “To be a successful shooter, you have be able to control your body,” Rutter said. “When you’re in a big match and your heart is beating crazy fast, you must be able to calm down and go to your own place.” Cardio workouts help with this, Rutter says. The core workouts help the team hold shooting stances longer.
To stay mentally sharp, Rutter does deep breathing exercises that allow him to “get the body totally in sync.” Imagining the perfect shot and what it feels like is also part of the team’s mental exercises.
“The goal is to win championships. We didn’t even say it this year – everyone knew it,” Rutter said. He practices every day to work toward this goal. “I’m either in the gym working out or at the range, I put in at least 20 hours a week, and that’s not including gym time.”
Rutter is a psychology major and sports management minor. A personal goal of his is to graduate in four years, making this his last year at UAF. After college, he hopes to join the Army and be part of the United States Marksmanship Unit. When he is not working on school or practicing, Rutter enjoys hunting and fishing.