June 19, 2012
RALEIGH, N.C. - NC State shooter Bryan Cross has seen success both in the classroom and on the range in the three years that he has spent as a member of the Wolfpack rifle team. Cross, a three-time All-SEARC selection and the 2011 SEARC individual champion, graduated in the spring with a degree in criminology, after being enrolled in classes at NC State for just six semesters.
"I got a little lucky with being able to graduate so early," Cross said. "I took a fair amount of AP classes in high school and was lucky that NC State accepted almost all of the credits from passing the tests. Other than that, it really just came down to time management and self-discipline to take only classes that counted towards my major, and then to put in the work to get through those classes."
Not only did Cross graduate a year early, but he also accomplished that feat while remaining in extremely high academic standing. Cross was inducted into the nation's oldest and best-known society for recognition of academic excellence and scholarly achievement, Phi Beta Kappa, in the spring of 2012. Election to Phi Beta Kappa is one of the highest honors that a student can earn at NC State University. He was also one of the top-10 scholar-athletes at NC State, carrying a 3.89 grade point average.
Cross plans to get his masters degree in international studies, with a concentration in security studies. He hopes to work in the counter-terrorism field for the U.S. government after he finishes his schooling, either for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service or the FBI, and believes that being a member of NC State's rifle team will aid him in his career goals.
"Being a student-athlete is all about team work and time management," said Cross. "I believe employers recognize the extra work that student-athletes must do in order to be successful in athletics and in the class room. I also think they recognize that student-athletes know how to work as a member of a group to achieve goals, and can also lead."
Even with his grueling academic load, Cross has managed to make his mark on the shooting range while at NC State. He has been selected to the All-SEARC team every season that he has competed, and was the SEARC individual champion his sophomore year. Cross tied the school record in smallbore earlier this season, firing a 578. His mark was later topped by teammate Dani Foster, but it remains tied for the second-highest score in program history.
The NC State rifle team as a whole had a record-setting season this year, breaking the smallbore, air rifle and aggregate team totals. Cross attributes the Pack's success to strong teamwork and high goals.
"We really tried to help each other improve during practice," Cross said. "Sometimes having another person's opinion really helps to figure things out. Also, seeing your teammates get better is one of the best motivators to improve yourself. This year we also did a lot more goal setting and had a new strength training program."
Aside from his 578 air rifle score, Cross also had personal-bests of 581 in air rifle, and 1,147 in aggregate. He hopes to raise those scores this season, and end his athletic career on a high note.
"This season I want to really improve over last season," Cross said. "I am set on qualifying for NCAA's, and hoping we qualify as a team because that would be ideal."