1870 Mag

Sidelines with Josh Black

Josh Black, Senior, OSU Rifle Team

It’s not too common to see a boy grow up to want to be a marksman rifle sport-shooter just because his sister was significantly better at it than he was, but hey, that seems to work for Josh Black.

Currently a senior at Ohio State, Black won’t be spending his spring break on a beach in Florida like a lot of other Buckeyes; he’ll be competing for a National Championship in Rifle, while his sister trains for the next Olympic cycle in her respective area of the sport.

From shooting in every event for his team during his freshman year as a Buckeye to being elected captain his final year, Black has stuck to his guns and proudly excelled in a field that doesn’t get the spotlight that mainstream sports do—exemplifying his dedication, character and commitment to what he is passionate about, regardless of the level of recognition.

The Ohio State University Men’s and Women’s Rifle and Pistol team’s Photo Day. Tuesday October 10, 2017. (Photo provided by the Ohio State University Department of Athletics.)

Where were you born/Where did you grow up?

I was born and raised in various parts of Virginia. I currently live in Richmond. My father and mother are supporting me from home while my sister is the assistant rifle coach for Texas Christian University (one of our rivals). She graduated as an NCAA shooter from TCU and is currently training through the 2020 Olympic cycle.

When did you first start with Rifle, and why?

I started when I was about 13. My sister got involved first and for a few months all I heard about was how great she was at shooting. I just couldn’t let that stand and picked up the rifles myself.

What’s your career with Rifle looked like from beginning till now?

Towards the beginning of my career, I found success in the Sporter air rifle shooting events by winning a couple of national championships in my age division. Once I was in high school, I transitioned into the Olympic/NCAA events. I was recruited to Ohio State and now, in my senior year, I am training for the NCAA national championship coming up during spring break.

What role will the sport play in your life after college?

I will absolutely stay involved in the sport! I will be attending optometry school for the next four years and I hope to work with shooting athletes by improving their vision and optics.

I also competed in air pistol for a few years and I hope to pick that sport up again after the NCAA championship.

If you could go back and start over and pick a new sport, would you, or would you stick with Rifle?

Even though rifle isn’t the most popular sport, I don’t think I could trade away the lessons I’ve learned by competing in this sport. I’ve developed so much as a person and I’ve built some incredible relationships. There’s nothing more valuable.

What’s so special about Rifle to you?

Rifle shooting has allowed me to attend The Ohio State University and compete against some of the best shooting athletes in the world. Along the way I’ve traveled all over the country and met some amazing people. Overall, I’ve just had a fantastic experience.

Are there professional/ other college athletes in the sport that you admire?

Yes! My coaches, Ryan Tanoue who was a world champion, and Emily Caruso who was a 2x Olympian have been my role models for my entire collegiate experience. I also admire my sister who is competing through the next Olympic cycle. We have been motivating and helping each other through the sport since we started. Last but not least, I admire my team mates because of all the hard work they put into the range and into the classroom.

(Photo provided by the Ohio State Department of Athletics.)

What do you want your life to be about?

I want to be about becoming the best eye doctor I can possibly become so I can provide excellent patient care. I also want to be an active and productive member of my community and simply enjoy every moment.

If you could be the best athlete in the world at any sport, what would it be?

Definitely golf. I’d love those fat paychecks and wouldn’t have to worry too much about getting injured.

Favorite sports team?

The Richmond Flying Squirrels! They’re a double-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants.

Prediction for Browns record next year?

2-14 if the draft goes well.

Who is better, LeBron or MJ?

Currently MJ. In my opinion, their legacies can’t be compared until LeBron retires.

Would you rather fight 1,000 duck-sized horses, or 1 horse-sized duck?

Duck-sized horses. Duck-sized ducks are scary enough!  

Who’s the funniest person alive?

Jerry Seinfeld.

If you could have any animal in the world as a pet, what would it be?

A giant tortoise.

Chris Pennington

Chris Pennington


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