While thousands gathered for the NRA annual convention in Dallas on May 4-6 to pontificate about firearms, about 300 sixth through twelfth graders comprising two dozen youth shotgun teams convened at Ellis County Sportsman’s Club just 20 miles away for the Scholastic Clay Target Program’s 2018 Texas State Shotgun Championships. “Ellis County is one of the few venues in North Texas that can handle a tournament this size,” noted Coach Rich Keele. “For anything bigger, we pretty much have to use the National Shooting Complex in San Antonio.”
More than 70,000 targets and 3,000 boxes of shotgun ammo decided individual, squad, and team state champions in American Skeet, American Trap, and Sporting Clays. According to longtime supporter Bill Alford whose son shot on the first national champion squad for the Eagles, “The growth of youth shotgun sports is incredible. You know it’s grown when parents and coaches get frustrated because all the shoots fill up on the first day of registration.”
Hundreds of medals, trophies, and belt buckles were awarded to athletes in grades 6-12 competing in their respective classifications. For most, this was the pinnacle of their season having battled the elements throughout the 6-month league which started back in November. Many will compete in the Lower Midwest Regional Tournament in San Antonio June 16-17 along with athletes from OK, AR, and LA. A few will go on to represent Texas at the SCTP American Team Nationals July 18-22 in Marengo, OH versus 3,000+ shooting athletes from across the nation. Among the Eagles who have already qualified for the All-State-Team representing Texas at Nationals are Rob Beach (Trap), Trevor Christensen (Skeet), Sean Packer (Sporting Clays), and Grant Stelmach (Sporting Clays). Beach and Packer also qualified as All-Americans in Sporting Clays, while Morgan Scott and Brandon Stone qualified as All-Americans in Skeet.
The Allen Eagles Competitive Shooting Team won the High Overall Team Championship by a margin of 42 targets out of 1,500 over the Southlake Carroll Target Program who earlier this year placed 1st in the North Texas League by 29 targets over the Eagles out of 4,500 shot in 9 league events.
Also in the running for the HOA team state crown, 1 target separated 3rd place Red Oak High School Shotgun Team from 4th place Grace Cougars of Tyler with newcomer Keller High School Clay Target Team in 5th place by just 4 more targets.
Allen and Southlake tied for the Skeet team award. But, Allen got the win in a shootoff with Southlake veterans Nicholas Godfrey and Tyler Hall demonstrating exceptional sportsmanship. The Eagles took the Sporting Clays team award by 3 targets over the Dragons. And Pleasant Grove Shotgun Club bested Allen by 1 target out of 500 for the Trap Team Championship.
The level of competition just keeps getting tougher. Every year, there are more and better teams competing. “Every year, we graduate a bunch of great shooters and fool ourselves into thinking we’ve seen the best of the best. But each year, a new crop of young shooters step up to the plate and raise the bar,” noted Eagles head coach Jason Anderson. “We just reload.”
Allen had a host of individual and squad award winners too!
Team: GOLD-Trevor Christensen, Morgan Scott, Nick Welch
Varsity Squad: BRONZE-Morgan Scott, Robert Beach, Sean Packer
Varsity Lady: GOLD-Morgan Scott, BRONZE-Bailey Finnelly
JV Squad: Trenton Christensen, Meredith McCarty, Garrett Koch
Intermediate/Advanced Squad: SILVER-Owen Lyons, Riley Showah, Brandon Martin
Intermediate/Advanced Athlete: GOLD-Owen Lyons
Intermediate/Entry Squad: GOLD-Nick Welch, Dylan Little, Tyler Stelmach
Intermediate/Entry Athlete: GOLD-Nick Welch, SILVER-Dylan Little
Team: SILVER-Robert Beach, Bailey Finnelly, Sean Packer, Morgan Scott, Kaleb Carper
Varsity Squad: GOLD-Robert Beach, Bailey Finnelly, Morgan Scott, Jackson Harper, Jake Lundberg
& SILVER-Sean Packer, Kaleb Carper, Thomas Keele, John Lyons, Grant Stelmach
Varsity Lady: SILVER-Bailey Finnelly, BRONZE-Morgan Scott
JV Squad: SILVER-Ellie Moeller, Oliver Harrison, Presli Richmond, Hunter Rhodes, Joseph Showah
JV Lady: BRONZE-Ellie Moeller
Intermediate/Entry Squad: GOLD-Dylan Little, Nick Welch, Tyler Stelmach, Brett Windham, Luc Tomczak & SILVER-Austin Hodge, Alex Martin, Connor Bowles, Alex Bull, Samantha Gott & BRONZE-Hudson Cooper, Logan Martinez
Intermediate/Entry Athlete: BRONZE-Hudson Cooper
Intermediate/Entry Lady: BRONZE-Samantha Gott
Team: GOLD-Sean Packer, Grant Stelmach, Thomas Keele
Varsity Squad: GOLD-Sean Packer, Grant Stelmach, Thomas Keele
Intermediate/Advanced Squad: SILVER-Owen Lyons, Brandon Martin, Riley Showah
Intermediate/Advanced Athlete: GOLD-Owen Lyons
Intermediate/Entry Squad: GOLD-Nick Welch, Dylan Little, Tyler Stelmach & BRONZE-Austin Hodge, Brett Windham, Luc Tomczak
Intermediate/Entry Athlete: SILVER-Nick Welch
HIGH OVER ALL
H.O.A. Team: GOLD-Allen
Skeet: Trevor Christensen, Morgan Scott, Nick Welch, Grant Stelmach, Sean Packer
Sporting Clays: Sean Packer, Grant Stelmach, Thomas Keele, Kaleb Carper, Nick Welch
Trap: Robert Beach, Bailey Finnelly, Sean Packer, Morgan Scott, Kaleb Carper
H.O.A. Varsity Athlete: BRONZE-Sean Packer
H.O.A. Varsity Lady: SILVER-Morgan Scott, BRONZE-Bailey Finnelly
H.O.A. Intermediate/Advanced Athlete: GOLD-Owen Lyons
H.O.A. Intermediate/Entry Athlete: SILVER-Nick Welch, BRONZE-Dylan Little
H.O.A. Intermediate/Entry Lady: BRONZE-Samantha Gott