Junior high Trojans get high marks at state
Southwest trap team brings home 3rd place honors
The Southwest Junior High Trap Team hit 440 of 500 targets to claim third place at the Missouri High School Trap Shooting Championships at the MTA Shooting facility in Linn Creek.
Ty Howard led the squad, breaking 94 of 100 targets. Hunter Stanley broke 92; Leland Colf, 91; Garrett Stanley, 82; and Samuel Jennings rounded out the scoring with an 81.
"I was really pleased with the team's performance," said Mike Vining, Southwest trap coach. "Honestly, I was a little concerned going in, as we didn't really have the best practice the Wednesday leading up to the shoot. But, we went up Friday and shot a couple of practice rounds at the facility.
"They seemed to be more focused during our practice rounds Friday, and I was hoping it would carry through to Saturday."
Vining said the team started to come together as a unit at the right time.
"I think the team grew a little last weekend," he said. "They seemed to start forming that bond that all good squads need to be successful at this level of competition."
The Southwest High School Team finished in fourth, just one target behind Popular Bluff, which finished in third.
Levi Moore and River Fields both hit 97 of 100 to lead the high school team.
Other team shooters competing were Hayden Fox, Elizabeth Wolfe, Charlie Henderson, Alex Cook and Heather Windes.
"Again, I was very happy with the scores we put up Saturday," Vining said. "It's been a really hectic spring for our high schoolers, as we have several shooters competing in other school activities. It's been really hard to get everyone together each week due to baseball, softball, FFA, and various other school activities. I do applaud our shooters for representing Southwest in various other sports as our baseball, softball, and FFA teams are also having tremendous seasons."
Vining said Trojans feel good about where the team is headed.
"I think once school lets out for the summer, we'll be able to get more focus on the next big shoot in June, and Nationals in August," he said. "Being just one target out of a top-three finish and only 12 targets behind the State Champions from Logan-Rogersville is very encouraging.
"Southwest has a strong trap shooting tradition, and we have, in a sense, created the monster that the state championships have become. With record shooter attendance now topping 1,000 shooters, other teams have picked up the intensity that we started in the past 16 years. The bar is definitely a lot higher than it was even 5 years ago. I feel our shooters are up to the challenge of raising that bar just a little higher, and again, I think we'll be good to go for the State AIM shoot in June."
This year, Vining leaned on Larry Hicks, his assistant coach, for more help.
"I can't thank our newly-acquired assistant coach Larry Hicks enough," Vining said. "Larry brings decades of trap shooting knowledge to our team, and he does a great job translating it to our shooters. Our kids are buying into what he can bring, and it's starting to pay off big time."
Vining said the trap teams also want to thank the team sponsors and the Monett Sportsman's Club for allowing them to use its facility.