Shotgunners compete for medals in clay target program national championships
SPARTA, ILL. -- Like a prelude to Olympic shooting events, more than 1,600 young shotgunners competed this week for medals and national honors at the Scholastic Clay Target Program Trap National Championships.
In the end, Arkansas earned one gold and one silver medal in the competition. The contest was held in five divisions Aug. 4-5 at the World Shooting and Recreational Complex in Sparta.
Arkansas's Harrisburg Hornet Shooting Team posted a score of 970 out of 1,000 targets to win the Intermediate Advanced Division (grades 6-8) title.
Team members include Jordan Harper of Harrisburg, Corey Shannon of Harrisburg, Haden Zirbel of Weiner, Bret Long of Harrisburg and Garrett Grubbs of Weiner. Zirbel had a perfect score with 200 straight targets.
"Their focus (was the difference). They were focused, they had a goal set," said coach Pat Turnage of Harrisburg. "We came here last year and finished in 11th place and they had to come back and win it.
"They worked real hard, I am real proud of them. A great attitude and a willingness to work and some natural talent and they really turned it on this week."
Arkansas placed second in the Intermediate Entry Division (grades 6-8). The Rivers Trap Club from Pocahontas scored a 923 out of 1,000 targets. The team members included Alex Lewis, Derek Brown, Zac Nead, William Hulen and Will Lewis.
Medals by state:
Tennessee--4 medals: 1 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze
Pennsylvania--3 medals: 1 gold, 2 bronze
Arkansas--2 medals: 1 gold, 1 silver
Alabama--1 medal: silver
Missouri--1 medal: gold
Nebraska--1 medal: silver
Nevada--1 medal: gold
Ohio--1 medal: silver
Utah--1 medal: bronze
SCTP is managed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) in partnership with USA Shooting and other governing bodies for shooting sports. Across more than 40 states in 2008, 9,135 youths competed and 1,562 adults volunteered as coaches and directors--both new records for the program.
SCTP was launched by NSSF in 2000 to offer students in grades 12 and under an opportunity to compete as a team in trap, skeet, sporting clays and the international versions of trap and skeet.
Program partners include the national governing bodies for each shotgun discipline: Amateur Trapshooting Association, National Skeet Shooting Association, National Sporting Clays Association and USA Shooting.
The ultimate goal is instilling in young participants a commitment to safe firearm handling, teamwork and leadership.
Many SCTP shooters go on to compete at the collegiate level. Olympians are more rare, but former SCTP stars Corey Cogdell and Vincent Hancock are representing the U.S. in Beijing in women's trap and men's skeet, respectively. For more information, visit www.nssf.org/sctp/sctp.