Southwest has qualified two teams for the National Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) Championships. Both the junior high and high school teams advanced to nationals after finishing third at the state championships held at Linn Creek on June 15 and 16.
In Coach Mike Vining's estimation, the high school squad of Tyler Cockrum, Matthew Snyder, Tyler Wallace, Lindsay Hutson and Brittany Wright is peaking at the right time and on target to contend for a national title.
The team hit 966 of 1,000 targets for third place honors. The Southwest shooters compete year after year against all-star teams representing various schools and still come out on top.
"What can I say that hasn't already been said about this group?" said Coach Vining. "This squad has a legitimate chance to contend for a national title this year.
"Again, with teammates Bo Stephens, Heath Forgey, Emily Wolf and Dustin Swigart, pushing them in practice, you would be hard pressed to find a better group of high school shooters anywhere in the country," Vining added.
The Southwest junior high team of Charly Phillips, Alan McNabb, Eli Bridges, Jason Cockrum and Johnathon Wolf, also had a strong showing at state, hitting 948 out of 1,000 targets.
"Anytime a team of junior high shooters can average a 94.8 out of 100, they are shooting lights out," Vining said. "I was very proud of this young team, not just with their scores, but in the way they shot together as a unit. Every time they would move to a new post, they were bumping fists and encouraging each other."
Vining also credits the day-to-day competition during practice provided by teammates Blake Hayworth, Mickie Catron, Austin Morgan, Eric Anderson, Kordell McNabb and Leonard Patterson.
"It really makes a big difference when our practices are just as tough as a lot of shoots we go to," said Vining.
Vining said the Southwest Trap Team would not be able to continue its success without the support of parents and his assistant coach, Rick Wright.
"I would be lost without the knowledge and time Rick has shared with us," said Vining. "The dedication of Rick and all the parents has been a big reason for our success in the past and will continue to be in the future."
As with previous competitions, Southwest students represented their district in an exemplary manner.
"The communities of Washburn and Seligman can be proud of how these athletes have represented the Southwest R-V School District as well as southwest Missouri," concluded Vining. "I encourage everyone to give them a pat on the back if you happen to run into one of these outstanding young student athletes, and wish them all well at nationals."
The National SCTP Championships will be held in Sparta, Ill., on Aug. 5, 6 and 7. For the last several years, Southwest has always has a team make it to nationals.