Yoke is a senior member of the Purdue Rifle and Pistol Club, which placed
second overall in the 2016 National Rifle Association’s Intercollegiate Rifle
Club National Championships. He is also a stellar statistics major who already
has a job as a systems and data analyst for an agency that serves Harley-Davidson and MasterCraft Boat Co.
Since Yoke joined the team, the Purdue club has finished in the top four
at nationals. Of course, Yoke keeps statistics for the team and helps with
statistics for the Western Intercollegiate Rifle Conference.
“Being a statistician and mathematician, I’m very analytical,” Yoke says.
“That’s what I do and love, and that’s how I was drawn to the sport. I love
running rifle numbers. ... I am able to predict people’s scores throughout the
year and get a good idea who is on the team and who’s not, because you only
get to choose five team members of the 10 to shoot for the team score.”
Yoke and his teammates compete in a sport that had the media spotlight
during the Summer Olympics. Virginia Thrasher, then only 19, was the first
gold medalist of the games in Rio de Janeiro for her skills in the women’s
10-meter air rifle event. She shoots for the West Virginia University team
during the school year.
Like Thrasher, Yoke takes aim with a smallbore rifle. Yoke’s Anschütz
rifle is an expensive piece of equipment that shoots bullets that leave clean,
precise holes on paper targets 50 yards away. A typical competition sees
Yoke firing 60 shots, each shot being scored from 1 to 10 points.
The sport of rifle shooting includes much more equipment than the rifle
and pellets. Yoke suits up in thick, heavy protective pants and jacket. A padded
glove is worn on his left hand as it delicately cradles the gun. Special boots
offer flat, rubber soles for maximum grip and balance. All of this is extensively
checked by judges before competition, as the slightest edge could mean a
slightly improved shot, which could mean big points.
“Even the thickness of our underwear is checked,” Yoke laughs. But he
is serious. The sport demands preciseness in all facets.
It takes a strong mind to go with that skilled trigger finger to excel at
“This sport is 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical, all the way,”
Yoke says. “Every shot that you take is a game of its own. When you take 60
shots, it’s 60 times you have to follow a process and really be mentally tough
the whole time. If I shoot a 7, I can’t
let that affect the 9s and 10s that I
want to shoot the rest of the match.”
A native of Naples, Florida,
Yoke has elevated to a team leader.
His contributions go beyond keep-
“Lake is one of our best and
most consistent shooters,” says
Mike Reckowsky, a team advisor
and assistant coach. “A lot of being
on the team is consistency and
helping everyone stay consistent
between each shot and relay, and
Lake is one of those people who
keeps everyone grounded.”
Yoke plans on picking up a
business intelligence master’s
degree to go along with his analyst
job. With a career waiting in the
wings, Yoke knows there will be
room for rifle after he receives his
College of Science degree.
“I shoot four days a week and
hope to continue that for the rest of my
life,” Yoke says. “I just got my coaching
certification, so one day maybe I’ll be a
collegiate coach and compete against
Purdue, or maybe coach for Purdue.
“Purdue is a great place for mental
training, and you have to be mentally tough.
Getting through those exams is like getting
through 60 shots.”
HAMMERD WN ACCURACY. IT’S WHAT
LAKE YOKE STRIVES FOR
IN THE CLASSROOM AND ON THE RIFLE RANGE.
By Tim Brouk