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Apr 16, 2018 3:32 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Matthew Griffiths Of East Hampton Helps Lead Lindenwood University To Its 15th Straight Shotgun Sports National Title

Matt Griffiths holding up the National Championship trophy along with his Lindenwood teammates. ASHLEY SWIFT
Apr 17, 2018 9:19 AM

Matthew Griffiths is soft spoken, a man of few words. But when he toes the line for the shotgun sports team at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri, a tenacious competitiveness emerges.

That spirit rang true for Griffiths, a 2014 East Hampton High School graduate, and the rest of his Lindenwood teammates at this year’s ACUI Collegiate Clay Target National Championships at the National Shooting Complex in San Antonio, Texas, on March 31. The Lions trailed Texas A&M by a single target with American skeet remaining for both teams, but they came back, outshooting the Aggies by four in the final event to claim their 15th straight title for the program. Lindenwood finished with an overall score of 2,492 to A&M’s 2,489. It was the smallest margin of victory for Lindenwood in any of its national championships.

In addition to helping lead the Lions to a first-place finish in American skeet, Griffiths also helped them place first in both American and international trap and sporting clays, a second-place finish in super sporting, and third place in international skeet. Individually, Griffiths finished third overall out of 600 shooters who shot in all six of the events, hitting 569 of 600 targets. He placed third in the combined American skeet and trap (198/200), third in combined American and international trap (196/200), and fourth in combined international trap and skeet (190/200).

Griffiths was named to the NRA All-American First Team, along with a number of his teammates.

“He is in fact quiet, but he has a tenacity to him on the competitive field,” Lindenwood head coach Shawn Dulohery said of Griffiths. “He’s very, very hard on himself, but in his senior year you could see the maturity and how much he’s grown. When he made a mistake he wasn’t as hard on himself.”

Dulohery said the growth and maturity that Griffiths has shown in his four years at Lindenwood has been tremendous.

“Coming in as a freshman, being quiet because you haven’t established yourself yet, you’re kind of like a flower starting off in the spring, and by the time they’re juniors, they’re really starting to blossom, voicing their opinions and becoming a leader.”

Dulohery used a baseball metaphor when describing what his team pulled off toward the end of the National Championships. “It was bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, two outs, so you could imagine the pressure that was on these shooters. But the students dug in—Matt being one of them,” he explained. “It was kind of a nail biter. It was good for the sport.”

Now that his career at Lindenwood has come to a close, with graduation on the horizon, Griffiths is looking forward to returning home to East Hampton where he would like to be a town or village policeman, or possibly take a local job as an Environmental Protection Agency officer. He said he is going to miss his time at Lindenwood, but that he is still going to compete in sporting clays around Long Island and New York State.

“I had lot of fun,” at Lindenwood, he said. “I accomplished a lot, I got a lot better, made some great friends. It took me a lot of places.

“That’s where I made some of my great friends. Some of my best memories I’ve had at college.”

Dulohery said he has no doubt that Griffiths will be successful in whatever he does in the future and that he’ll be a great ambassador to the sport.

“It’s been a pleasure to be around him as a coach. Matt, the last couple of years, has really stepped it up. He’s very much a big time name in this program and he’s going to be missed. It’s going to be difficult to replace him and several of the other seniors.”

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