Hamilton signs with UK Rifle team

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By Zack Penalva

Washington County High School senior Mason Hamilton made his decision official when he signed to join the University of Kentucky Rifle team for the 2019-2020 season.
“I went to Murray State University and University of Kentucky. Both programs were virtually the same. It was a hard decision, but I feel like I made the one that was best for me,” he said.

Hamilton has been shooting since he was nine years old. In the time since, he’s competed in the National Junior Olympics and been a multiple time 4-H State Champion.
“A lot of shooters [in more urban areas] kind of have a club team…it provides a lot of resources for them to tap in to,” he said. “I’m from a rural community, so that makes it a lot harder to find those resources…really the coach around here was my dad, that was my main resource in encouragement in the sport.”

Mason’s father, Todd Hamilton, said his role in coaching his son has been a process of continual learning.
“It just progressed through the years, picking up ideas from other coaches,” he said. “Going to the Junior Olympics, there were a lot of coaches there, so I kind of picked everybody’s brain and read books…We kind of worked it out together and through trial and error kept on getting better and better.”

After watching his son progress over the last eight years, Hamilton said watching him sign for UK was the culmination of all their work.
“I can remember a time we went to UK [to watch the Rifle team], the very first time we did. We were coming back home, and he says, ‘ Dad, do you think I’d ever be good enough to shoot for UK?’”
“I said, ‘Absolutely. It’s going to take a lot of hard work and determination, but if you want it, you can get it.’ Little did we know, eight years later he would do it.”

Mason’s mother, Allena Hamilton, said that watching her son’s journey has been a great experience.
“It has been amazing to watch him grow as a shooter,” she said. “It takes a tremendous amount of dedication and time to become as good as he is. Shooting for UK Rifle Team has been a dream of his for many years.  I am extremely excited and proud to see him fulfill his dream of becoming a Wildcat.”

Mason did his official visits to both UK and Murray State back in September. The close-knit atmosphere he found with the Wildcat team is what ultimately swayed him.

“It was so welcoming,” he said. “Everyone says that they have a welcoming program, but it truly was a family when you walked into the office or on the range.”