Southwest trapshooters hitting their targets

Wednesday, May 17, 2017
The 2017 Southwest varsity trap team took second at the state competition. From left: Heather Windes, Hunter Stanley, Charlie Henderson, Coach Larry Hicks, Levi Moore, Leland Colf, Coach Mike Vining and Elizabeth Wolfe. Contributed photo

Trap teams 2nd at state championships

The Southwest Middle School and High School trapshooting teams each came home last weekend from Linn Creek as runners-up at state.

The State Championships were moved to May 6 after being postponed due to heavy rain and flooding issues around Missouri the previous weekend.

The 2017 Southwest varsity trap team took second at the state competition. From left: Heather Windes, Hunter Stanley, Charlie Henderson, Coach Larry Hicks, Levi Moore, Leland Colf, Coach Mike Vining and Elizabeth Wolfe. Contributed photo

The windy conditions Saturday proved to be a plus for Southwest.

“Our practice facility is at the Monett Sportsman’s Club,” said Mike Vining, Southwest coach. “While most trap fields face the north, the facility in Monett is facing the south. So at 80 percent of our practices, our kids are constantly shooting into the wind, which makes it very tough. At the state shoot, a cold front was moving through, with blustery conditions coming in from the north. So, while many of the shooters were struggling with the wind, our kids were like hey, this is just like at home.”

Southwest’s high school team finished seven targets behind a talented Logan-Rogersville squad, and three targets ahead of third-place Poplar Bluff.

Levi Moore led Southwest by breaking 98/100 targets, claiming second individually. He was followed by teammate Leland Colf with a 95. Elizabeth Wolfe, Heather Windes, and Charlie Henderson each posted 92s, while Hunter Stanley broke 91 targets.

“To have the entire squad shoot in the 90s tells me our consistency is finally starting to come around,” Vining said. “I’ve been preaching consistency with this group for a couple of years, and with the addition and help of Assistant Coach Larry Hicks, we are finally starting to get things headed in the right direction in that area. Larry is an accomplished trap shooter, and his help in fine tuning and their mental approach has been extremely valuable.

“I can’t tell you how happy I am to see our two seniors, Levi and Elizabeth, go out in the manner they did. These two have shown great leadership skills all season and have very bright futures ahead of them.”

Southwest’s junior high team of Ty Howard, Samuel Jennings, Garrett Stanley, Olivia Ayer, and Caleb Ayer finished just one target behind the champions from Logan-Rogersville and outdistanced third place Silex by 26 targets. Howard led the junior high team shooting a 93/100.

“The sky is the limit with our junior high bunch,” Vining said. “I can’t wait to see what they’re capable of when they reach High School. I honestly was a little nervous with this bunch at state for the obvious reason being we have two first year shooters on the squad. I knew that Ty, Samuel, and Garrett would be ok but didn’t really know how the brother-sister combo Olivia and Caleb would handle the pressure having had absolutely no experience at this level of competition. These shooters have worked their tails off all winter and I was very glad they got to experience what rewards can be achieved with a little old fashioned hard work. Their confidence level just went up a ton at this shoot and if they keep up their great work ethic, it will take them to even higher levels.”

Vining added that there were a lot of people to thank for his team’s success.

“After the shoot ended, a lot of us stopped at Dowd’s Catfish House in Lebanon on the way home and let me tell you, the catfish tasted just a little better Saturday night,” Vining said. “Thanks go out first of all to the Monett Sportsman’s Club for allowing us to use their great facility to practice on. I also want to express my sincere thanks to all the area merchants and people who have helped sponsor these kids. It’s your generosity that helps them compete in a sport they truly love. Finally, thanks to our booster parents whose support of our kids help make all they do possible.”

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