Trojans reflect on national shoot

Wednesday, August 17, 2016
The 2015-2016 Southwest Trap team recently competed at the national championship event. In the front row, from left, are: Ty Howard, Hunter Stanley, Leland Colf, Garrett Stanley, Samuel Jennings, Head Coach Mike Vining, Heather Windes, Elizabeth Wolfe and Emily Snyder. Second row: Charlie Henderson, Hayden Fox, River Fields, Levi Moore and Assistant Coach Larry Hicks. Contributed photo

Southwest enjoys trip to event in Illinois

The dreary weather in Sparta, Ill., did not hamper the spirits of the Southwest trap team at the World Shooting Complex in the AIM Grand American Championships.

Although the team did not bring home any hardware from the tournament this year, there were several good individual scores put up in unusually wet conditions, according to Coach Mike Vining.

Leading the sub-junior squad was incoming freshman Leland Colf with a 200 target score of 188.

"Leland was very consistent for us all season," Vining said. "Anytime you can average in the mid to upper 90s, you've put in a good day's work. "

Other Sub-Junior team members shooting were Heather Windes, Ty Howard, Samuel Jennings, Hunter Stanley, and Garrett Stanley.

"I know some of the shooters didn't perform as well as they would have liked," Vining said. "I was pleased with their performances. There are things I look at besides the final outcome of big shoots like this, and I saw some very encouraging things."

The coach praised the team's composure under the stressful event standards.

"One thing that really stood out to me as a coach was their attitudes and resilience for overcoming one or two subpar rounds," Vining said. "In the not so distant past, we would have thrown in the towel after a bad round and called it a day. I was extremely proud of how much these kids have grown as shooters in the past couple of months. They did a really good job of putting a bad round behind them and came back with some really good rounds. Seeing them grow like that really means a lot to a coach."

In the Junior Division, it was much the same story for the Trojans.

On the first day of competition, Levi Moore, Elizabeth Wolfe, and Charlie Henderson posted 97, 96, and 95 out of 100 targets to lead the way. On day two, Hayden Fox shot a 98, paired with Levi's 96, to lead the squad. Emily Snyder and River Fields rounded out a well-balanced team score.

"We had some good scores, but just couldn't get them all on the same days," Vining said. "This was Hayden and River's last shoot as members of the Southwest Team as they graduated back in May. As with all of our seniors we've lost to graduation, it's always hard to say goodbye, but I know they have great things ahead of them and wish them nothing short of the best as they start a new chapter in their lives.

"As a whole, we didn't necessarily lay an egg at nationals. When you reach the level of completion that is seen at the national level, one little hiccup is all it takes to fall down in the standings."

Vining said all in all, the experience will help the team moving forward.

"Again, I was very pleased with the grit and never-give-in attitude these kids showed on both days," he said. "It was really refreshing to see them giving each other knuckle bumps after completing a station and picking each other up. I wouldn't trade these kids in for a boat load of trophies. They're so fun to be around, one can't help but just love these kids' attitudes and personalities."

The complete results of the competition were still unavailable as of presstime.

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