Makayla Scott brings SCTP to West Virginia Youth

Makayla Scott’s incredible achievements on the field include Team CZ-USA Shotgun Ambassador and Guinness World Record Holder…. but her introduction as a Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) athlete came from a simple desire. To go to college.

Makayla had tried every sport imaginable growing up but never found the right fit. Like any parent, Telford Scott found it difficult to watch his adopted daughter not find success. The list of activities that Makayla tried did not provide what she needed to grow as a person and athlete. That list grew long. “Makayla had it rough growing up and unfortunately didn’t get to come into my life until she was nine,” sighed Mr. Scott. “I couldn’t find anything to get her out of her shell.”

It is a common theme in the “ball sports” to see young participants fall victim to favoritism, parent-coach politics, and even neglected athletes viewing most of the season from the cold, uncomfortable bench. This is not something that young shooting sports athletes encounter in the SCTP and SASP, where there is no such thing as being benched.

Makayla’s life was about to take an incredible turn, in an unlikely sport. Her father took her to shoot clays and everything changed.

The young home schooler from West Virginia was introduced to shotgun shooting sports as a simple family outing. Taking to it like a moth to a flame, Makayla’s father knew something special was happening for her. At the age of 12, he helped her sign up for the local 4-H league and she quickly excelled both on and off the field. The more clays she broke, the more self-confidence she gained. The more social interaction with fellow teammates and competitors she experienced, the more outgoing she became.

Makayla and her father, Telford Scott

The young shooting sports athlete discovered the SCTP three years later, after qualifying for the Junior Olympics. Fellow competitors praised the program and described the many opportunities provided, such as college recruitment and being the official feeder program to USA Shooting. “This program was basically everything I wanted for my future,” reflected Makayla. “The closest SCTP team I could find was the North Carolina Clays, which was hours away, but completely worth it.”

Continuing to thrive, Makayla found the attention and support from SCTP sponsors along her journey such as CZ-USA. “The gun I started off with didn’t fit right and was beating me up,” said Makayla. “David Miller from CZ introduced himself and took me out to the range with a demo gun. I shot 25 straight in trap the first time I picked up that gun and it taught me a lot about proper gun fitment!”

Makayla’s growth in the sport and as a person was evident to all of those around her, but especially so by her father. “We tried every sport you could think of but for Makayla, the shotgun changed her life. The change in her and her outlook on life has been incredible to watch. When she started 4-H shooting sports at 12 years old, she couldn’t spell her name at registration and now she is a writer for Women’s Outdoor News! In 2019, she was the Ladies Doubles Skeet Champion at SCTP Nationals, where she also qualified for participating in the Guinness Record attempt of a team of five breaking the most clays in 12 hours,” beamed Mr. Scott. When asked about the record, Makayla said, “I had never been more nervous about anything in my entire life. It was a huge, huge honor. It took twelve hours of shooting and yes, we took breaks every 45 minutes.” Over 14,167 clays were broken in those 12 hours by the team consisting of Makayla, Jessica Strasser, Levi Henrichs, Weston Zolck and David Miller.

Currently only a year into her SCTP journey, Makayla wants to give back to the community. Knowing what they know now, the daughter-father duo have created the first West Virginia SCTP team, the Mountaineer Clay Crushers. Teaming up with supporters like MEC, the Mountaineer Clay Crushers have built the “Field Of Dreams”, a practice skeet and trap field for the new SCTP team in the state. “Everywhere we went, she’s the only kid from West Virginia,” said Mr. Scott. “We are trying to give the kids in West Virginia a chance to try this sport and see what it can do for them. There’s so many more opportunities in the SCTP than other programs. If young shotgun shooting athletes have hopes of going to college and getting scholarships, this is where the need to be.”

“What I love about SCTP is solely focused about the youth,” said Makayla. “The SCTP is focused on kids reaching their dreams and setting them up for a good future. That’s what they did for me and they’re doing that for every other kid like me that have big dreams.  The team aspect is a plus and it’s on a nation-wide level. I want to use my success as my stage to reach others. I want to show kids, and even adults, in my shoes or worse, that you do not have to let your past define you. You can break the chains holding you back and be the best you’ll ever be. Sharing the youth shooting sports is something that is extremely, extremely important because it made a huge impact on my life.”

The Scott family is an example of what incredible things can be accomplished in the world of youth shooting sports. Within their first year in the SCTP, the Scott family built their dream field, started a team, and brought home six individual medals back from Nationals. Not long after being interviewed, Makayla Scott took another step forward by signing as a founding member of Montreat College’s Clay Target Shooting Team.

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