Southwest trap team finishes season 10th in nation
Twenty-four members of the Southwest High School trap team traveled to the World Shooting Complex in Sparta, Ill. ,to compete in the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) National Championships on July 18 through July 20.
SCTP is an organization designed for youth athletes to compete in a variety of shooting sports that include the disciplines of American Trap, Olympic Trap, American Skeet, Olympic, Skeet, Sporting Clays, Rifle and Pistol.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) developed this program as a pipeline for developing and introducing promising young shooters for the U.S. Olympic Shooting Team.
Southwest competed against 1,883 other trap shooters and 159 teams from 30 states. There are five divisions in which the athletes compete and they are: senior varsity, senior junior varsity, which are high school levels; intermediate advanced and intermediate entry levels, which include students in sixth through eighth grades; and the rookie division, for shooters in fifth grade and under.
The senior varsity team finished 10th in the nation out of 95 teams shooting a team score of 966/1000 targets.
Seniors Eric Anderson, Johnathon Wolf and Kordell McNabb led the high school team with scores of 197, 196, and 195 out of 200.
"Our goal each year is to place in the top three at our state shoot, and crack the top 10 nationally," said Mike Vining, coach. "We won the state title at the Missouri State SCTP Championships in June, and finished 10th in Sparta, so I was pleased with how we shot all year."
The senior JV team shot a combined score of 901/1000 to finish 14th out of 42 teams nationally.
Senior Eithan Still led the squad with a 200 target score of 190, while freshman Hayden Fox carded a 187.
Other members of the high school team that contributed greatly to the 10th and 14th place finishes were Tommy Sickles, Garrett Hobbs, Jesse Hayworth, Alex Cook, Brent Anderson and Jacob Wolf.
"Out of the 11 members of our high school team, we had six freshmen and one sophomore, so I am already very excited about the next three years," Vining said. "I always have mixed feelings about our seniors, and this year was no exception.
"On one hand, it was sad to think that we would be without these four seniors after nationals," Vining continued. "They have been as talented a bunch as we have ever had go through our program.
"On the other hand, I know that these four guys will move on to the next chapter in their lives and become successful in anything they set their sights on," he said. "For that, I am very happy for them. It has truly been a privilege to have them with us. "
On the junior high side of things, the intermediate entry squad posted a 799/1000, good enough for a 16th place finish out of 30 other teams.
Levi Moore led the team with an awesome two-day total of 192/200, which was good enough to put him tied individually with three other shooters for third. Unfortunately, with the tie-breaker system they used, Levi wound up fifth place in the final standings.
"This was Levi's first year with us, so I was very happy for him to be able to finish so well," Vining said.
Chance Black, also a new shooter for the school, was second high on the team with a 168.
Other junior high shooters chipping in to help with the top 20 finish were: Skyler Willer, Emily Snyder, Heather Windes, Elizabeth Wolfe, Charlie Henderson, Michael Banks and Jarrett Pike.
Shooting in the rookie division were: Jake Taylor, Hunter Stanley, Leland Colf and Garrett Stanley.
"Out of the 13 shooters on our junior high team, only three had had competitive shooting experience," Vining said "When you factor in that nearly 80 percent of the team were first-year shooters this season, I believe we had an extremely successful season. Three of our young ones, Skyler, Chance and Charlie, shot their first 25 straight while at nationals, so in keeping with our tradition, we got to "air condition" their hats while there. Even though our fourth and fifth graders shot some of their best rounds of the year, I really felt bad for our four rookies, as we just lacked one shooter in that age group to have enough for a full rookie team.
"As always, there are so many people to thank for their contributions to our team," Vining said. "First and foremost, I would like to thank my assistant for the last 12 years, Rick Wright. He has been so instrumental in our success that words do not do him justice. Rick has volunteered his time and knowledge of shooting with us for a long time.
Vining also acknowledges Superintendent Bob Walker and the Southwest School Board as well as the Seligman Chamber of Commerce for helping the team to realize its dream of having its own practice facility; Highway 37 Pawn for help in team fundraisers; as well as the many individuals and businesses in the Southwest School District and surrounding area for their support.