Some of the best competitive scholastic shotgun shooters in America came together July 17-21 for the National Scholastic Clay Target Program Championships in Sparta, Ill. In the end, Tennessee teams and individual participants had earned 13 national titles in skeet, sporting clays and trap.
Among the 31 states participating, no other had more gold medals.
"Tennessee has earned a reputation for bringing top-flight shooters each year to compete against the best in the nation," said Andrew Peercy, statewide manager for the Tennessee Wildlife Federation's Tennessee Scholastic Clay Target Program. "These athletes, their coaches and parents have worked tirelessly to prepare for this event, sometimes years worth of preparation. On the world stage, we've seen American shooters win Olympic gold medals this week, and the sky's the limit for some of our kids."
In the skeet competition, the Haywood County Young Guns team won the Intermediate Entry category, with Henry County No Fly Zone winning gold in the Rookie division. Individually, Haywood County's Haynes Kirby won the national Intermediate Entry title, and Carah-beth Maddux was named national champion in the Ladies Varsity Skeet division.
In sporting clays, Montgomery Central won the High School Squad title, and Clint Hinton of Bethel University won the Collegiate individual championship. Spring Hill Middle School's Laura DeCuir won the individual Ladies Intermediate Entry national gold.
And in trap, the Jefferson County 4-H Patriots won the Varsity team title. Kyler Ainley of Henry County won the Varsity individual national trap championship, with the only 200 straight targets broken in the entire tournament. Ainley was named the Rudy Cup winner, as well, which goes to the High Overall Tennessee Trap shooter from the event.
Taylor Black of Arlington High School was the High Overall Ladies Varsity trap shooter, and Caitlin Rigsby of Spring Hill High School won the HOA for Ladies Intermediate Advanced. This is the second year in a row that Tennessee shooters have won the High Overall in both men's and ladies trap for the week-long tournament.
The event also names the Combined High Overall Shooters, recognizing the men's, ladies and team high scores across all ages and divisions. Tennessee shooters won two of those titles - The Jefferson County 4-H Patriots with the Overall Team HOA and Candace Ridley of McKenzie in the Ladies Overall.
For full results from the Scholastic Clay Target Program National Championships, please visit www.tnsctp.org