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Tag: International Skeet

SCTP Athlete Heads for World Championships

Contributed by Sarah Knapp with photos courtesy USA Shooting

Imagine being 19 years old and in a different country, standing on an awards podium flanked by two of the best skeet shooters in the world, watching the American flag rise while the national anthem plays in the background. Pride for your country, your team and yourself all swell inside you.

This is a dream Eli Christman, who is from Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee, never thought would come true until he found himself, along with teammates Nic Moschetti and Elijah Ellis, standing on the championship podium at the 2017 ISSF World Championships in Moscow, Russia. Christman, a member of Team USA Shooting at just 19 years old, has accomplished what many shooters could only dream of doing: representing the United States in countries across the world and bringing home championship titles.

When describing his experience of being a part of the U.S. Junior Team that earned the team bronze in Moscow, Christman was at a loss for words. He said it was a moment unlike any other and the most rewarding moment of his shooting career. The raw emotions flooding through him described the moment perfectly.

“Honestly that is the most… It’s one of the most… I was filled with the most pride when I was in Russia and our country’s flag was being raised on the pole, and you got to hear the United States National Anthem. There were so many other countries there, but yet ours was the one being played and you were one of the few wearing the colors… It was a very humbling experience,” Christman said.

Christman, who competes in International Skeet (I-Skeet), began shooting when he was a freshman at Soddy-Daisy High School in Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee. However, now a freshman at Martin Methodist College in Pulaski, Tennessee, he has been shooting I-Skeet for only two years.

When Christman began shooting, he did not know that he could even make Team USA or eventually compete at the Olympics. However, a chance encounter with Team USA and two-time Olympic gold medalist shooter Vincent Hancock at the 2015 SCTP National Championships in Sparta, Illinois, inspired him to give I-Skeet a try. He now competes with Hancock on Team USA, whom he has looked up to since they met in 2015.

“I was late in the game as far as competition-wise. Most people start when they are a bit younger than I was. I didn’t start shooting international skeet competitively until I was a junior in high school. I was rather old for not knowing what I was doing to begin with, so I had to make a lot of progress in order to get my in,” Christman said.

If his championship titles were not proof enough of his abilities, Christman has earned his place on Team USA three times now. He first received a nomination for the team after winning the silver medal at the 2017 National Junior Olympics in Colorado Springs. The same summer he medaled at the Junior Nationals and then made the Junior World Team in 2017. All three instances earned him a spot on Team USA.

“I was ecstatic. I knew going into the tournament that was on the line; of course I wasn’t focusing on that, but I knew very well that that was the goal of the tournament. That was the goal of everyone there shooting,” Christman said.

“[Team USA] was one of the main things I wanted from the very beginning. Even in the beginning, I really wanted to be a part of a team to just have that sense of pride in your country. That meant a lot to me.”

While most members of Team USA live in different states, the camaraderie when the members shoot together is unlike anything else, Christman said. Team USA gives “the opportunity to go travel places and shoot tournaments in different places and experiences to help you grow as an athlete,” he said.

Even as a freshman in college, Christman manages to dedicate time for both Team USA and the Martin Methodist Clay Target team, as well as himself to his education. A nursing major, Christman is determined to be a specialist in the medical field. Even being on two shooting teams on which he travels internationally through the school year, he has maintained a 3.98 GPA. Christman says it’s a challenge at times, but time management is the key to balancing his extracurricular activities.

“That’s just Eli,” said Dylan Owens, a fellow competitor and friend.

Emma Williams, a fellow Martin Methodist and Team USA shooter, has seen firsthand how Eli has improved and dedicated himself to the sport.

“Eli has improved not only as an athlete, but a person as well since we began shooting together. He is an outstanding shot and continues to improve and work on himself every day,” Williams said.

“He always pushes me to do my best and to train as hard as I can. He is one of the hardest working people that I’ve met, and that pushes me to work even harder so I can keep up with him.”

Christman trains six days a week for multiple hours to prepare for his upcoming tournaments and makes sure he is the best shooter he can possibly be. Focusing on putting himself in a tournament mindset, Christman treats every practice as if he is in final shoot-offs, which have become the most important events of his tournaments.

“If you can make it into the top 6 [of a tournament], it pretty much is up to the 60 targets in the finals. You have 60 targets to make it or break it, so that is what I am focusing on here lately.”

Christman will compete in the 2018 World Championships in Changwon, South Korea, in September and Porpetto, Italy, on the Junior Team in preparation for the 2020 Olympics.

“Tokyo 2020 is the goal,” Christman said.

Christman shoots a Krieghoff K-80, which he connected with immediately. Throughout the many guns he has shot during his career, Christman said the K-80 just clicked with him.

Sydney Carson, also a fellow Martin Methodist and Team USA shooter, said that shooting with Christman has made her a better shooter in many ways. His sportsmanship on and off the range pushes her to improve herself.

“Eli is the kind of person who will always help you better yourself. Whether it be in training, competition, school, or even just striving to be a better person, he is always setting a great example.”

Chad Whittenburg, head coach of the Martin Methodist Clay Target team, believes Christman will continue to succeed in the shooting sports no matter where he goes.

“The sky is the limit for this young man. He has the drive, the passion, the resources, the coaching and the environment to achieve any goal he sets. I have no doubt we will see him as an Olympian one day.”

2018 SCTP Junior Olympic Development Camp

Scholastic Clay Target Program coaches and athletes are invited to apply for a very special camp this spring focused on learning the fun and challenging clay target disciplines of international (i.e. “bunker”) trap, international doubles trap and international skeet. The 2018 Junior Olympic Development Camp (JODC) will take place in Colorado Springs, CO at the Olympic Training Center and USA Shooting’s International Shotgun Range at Fort Carson– training grounds for USA’s Olympic shooting athletes!

The purpose of the JODC camp is twofold:

1. To assist USA Shooting in its pursuit of identifying SCTP Athletes who have the potential to become USA Shooting Team members and, ultimately, Olympic champions;

and

2. To provide SCTP Coaches and State Advisors with increased knowledge and skills in order to become more effective in working with SCTP Athletes.

The U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Shooting have confirmed May 23-28, 2018 for the camp with coaches attending all days and athletes attending May 24-28. Interested coaches and athletes must apply and be selected for the camp. SCTP will be accepting up to 24 athletes and up to 10 coaches. For the 2018 season, we ONLY have the May camp available.

For complete details, please review the information sheet and application forms below or on the SCTP Forms and Handbook section of our website. The deadline for receiving all completed application packages is April 12, 2018……NO EXCEPTIONS!

2018 JODC Information

2018 Athlete Application

2018 Coach Application

SCTP and USA Shooting Announce 2018 International National Championship Dates

The Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) has received official notice of dates for its 2018 International National Championships from USA Shooting. This event will be held in Colorado Springs, Colorado at the International Shooting Park, Ft. Carson.

The dates and course of fire are as follows:

July 22-23: Open Training both days, 9am – 4pm

July 24-25: Skeet Championships 125 targets

July 26-27: Bunker Trap Championships 125 targets

All teams must register via the SHOT system which will open on or around June 1st.

Individual medals and team trophies will be awarded to the top three in each category.

The 2019 SCTP National Team will be decided by this tournament with the top three women and top three men in both categories of International Skeet and Bunker Trap forming the new team for next year.

SCTP would like to thank USA Shooting for its continued support and dedication as their official youth feeder program to the US National team and Olympic dream!

Dates for the SCTP’s 2018 Junior Olympic Development Camp and availability will be published shortly.

Teams and coaches with any questions may contact SCTP National Director, Tom Wondrash at twondrash@sssfonline.com

We look forward to seeing everyone in Colorado Springs this summer!

2018 SCTP National Team Trains in Gainesville

Thinking to start the year with some early season warm weather training, the Scholastic Clay Target Program National Team held its first training camp of 2018 at Gator Skeet and Trap Club in Gainesville, Florida January 3-5. Winter Storm Grayson, however, had other ideas. In spite of pouring rain and freezing temperatures, these athletes accepted the challenge, layered up, and shot just over 5000 targets in three days.

SCTP athletes in attendance included  Mark Shields (NT/Missouri), AJ Nomina (NT/Colorado), Sarah Schwacher (NT/Wisconsin), Jack Brosseau (NT/Florida), Tyler Thiede (NT/Wisconsin), Madeleine Taylor (NT/Alaska), Jay Bible (walk on/Florida), Abbey Wigh (walk on/Florida), Scott Schuldt (walk on/Florida).

“It was pretty miserable the first day, but they put their heads down and went to work. Goals don’t wait for the weather to clear up,” said head coach, Terri DeWitt. She and assistant skeet coach Joe Buffa will host another training camp in Tucson, Arizona prior to the USA Shooting Spring Selection Match in March. Other training camps are planned for 2018, but not yet finalized.

“We couldn’t be more proud of Terri and the leadership she is providing for the SCTP National Team!” Said SCTP National Director, Tom Wondrash. “This practice and training is one of many to come that will help these team members surge in the International disciplines. People like Terri and Joe Buffa out there working with these athletes is a very welcome addition to our program!”

National Team (NT) athletes earned their spot via participation and placement in the 2017 Scholastic Clay Target Program International Championships held July 23-29, 2017.

2018 national team members receive ongoing coaching in the international shooting disciplines, a USA Shooting jacket, paid fall selection match fees and ammo, along with an SCTP National Team vest, five cases of NobelSport Quattro Finest International ammunition and more!

USA Shooting Seeks Applications for Athlete Endowment Grants

USA Shooting and the Bunker Club established the Colonel D.D. Behrens Athlete Endowment Fund to create a reliable and predictable cash flow to fund developing athletes to ensure that United States teams remain strong in the face of increasing competition from other countries.

2018 Athlete Endowment Deadline – January 30, 2018

In 2005 the Athlete Endowment Fund was established by Colonel D.D. Behrens with the intention of awarding grants to shooting sport athletes to help offset the cost of competitions, equipment, ammunition, travel and training in hopes of maintaining USA Shooting’s competitive excellence well into the future.  The goal of the endowment is to build a strong foundation of USA Shooting athletes by assisting with development of their shooting skills needed to become high-level competitors and Olympians.

In 2015, eighteen athletes were the first grant recipients from the endowment.  Since then the number of athletes receiving grants have doubled.  As the endowment continues to grow with the help of generous donors, the number of athletes impacted will continue to rise.

The goals of the Athlete Endowment are already being realized with several success stories from awardees, including 2016 Olympic champion Ginny Thrasher and Junior Olympic Champion Will Shaner.

Recognizing the need for USA Shooting to build its own base of financial support, Col. D.D.Behrens started fundraising within a small inner-circle of hunting buddies which has now blossomed into a very loyal and dedicated group.  The Bunker Club was established at a time when USAS was in a tight financial position.  There was an immediate need to replace bunker trap machines at the International Shotgun Range in Colorado Springs.  The Bunker Club members successfully raised $200,000 to complete the project.

After the initial fundraising task was completed, Bunker Club members then decided to make a long-term commitment to USA Shooting athletes.  They set forth to establish an endowment of $3 million in which, to date, have successfully raised $1.7 million.  Their continued support of athletes is amazing, and we are forever grateful.

To build on this level of achievement, USA Shooting must create a strong base of financial support to ensure that our athletes can not only compete successfully in the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, but also to build an athlete base and opportunity for young shooters to achieve success into the future.

The Athlete Endowment will award athletes with grants to help cover training, competition expenses, equipment, ammunition, and travel.  Payments will be made for eligible expenses on a reimbursement by receipt basis during same calendar year as awarded grant.

Application criteria are as follows:

  • Applicants must have a current USA Shooting event classification;
  • Demonstrated potential in both skill and commitment are required;
  • Applicant must be a USA Shooting member, click here for membership.
  • Members of the National Team, Development Team or National Junior Team (past or present) are not eligible for Endowment grants.
  • Members of the Junior Olympic Squad (Rifle, Pistol, Shotgun) may apply for grants.
  • Members of the USA Shooting Team who are already receiving financial assistance are not eligible for endowment grants.

Instructions

USA Shooting
Attn: Patsy Woods
1 Olympic Plaza
Colorado Springs, CO 80909

For more information or if you have any questions or comments please contact: resourcedevelopment@usashooting.org or call 719-866-4883.

2017 Junior Olympic Development Camp a Huge Success!

The Scholastic Clay Target Programs (SCTP) yearly Junior Olympic Development Camp (JODC) was another huge success! The camp, held this past August 7th – 13th at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado featured 24 athletes and 4 coaches from 16 states around the country who were selected to attend!

These athletes and coaches were able to take part in a camp designed to introduce them to the International Disciplines of Bunker Trap and International Skeet. Athletes were immersed in the day to day work of an Olympic athlete including training at a high altitude, nutrition, hydration and some really good training tips and techniques from Olympic caliber coaches like Terri DeWitt, Joe Buffa and Lance Bade!

“What an awesome opportunity for SCTP athletes to gain first-hand knowledge from the likes of these coaches!” Said Tom Wondrash, SCTP National Director. “I have been part of these camps for 8 years now and they just keep getting better and better. Thank you to USA Shooting and the summer resident athletes for also sharing their knowledge of the International Shooting sports and to the great athletes and coaches for attending!”

The JODC is another example of the doors that SCTP opens for athletes wanting to excel in the clay target shooting sports. SCTP, the official youth program and pipeline to USA Shooting has also started the SCTP / USA Shooting National Team, with Terri DeWitt at the helm as the official Head Coach! Athletes earn their way on to the team by attending and placing in the top 3 spots at SCTP’s International National Championships held each year in Colorado Springs, CO around the end of July. Only members in good standing of the SCTP are eligible for this great opportunity, so why not join now?!

Applications to attend this camp are available on our website around the middle of March each year. Coaches and athletes must be members of the Scholastic Clay Target Program to apply. Dedication to SCTP, attendance at state and national tournaments as well as scores shot in the American disciplines are all key factors in deciding who is picked to attend the camps.

DeWitt named as SCTP National Team Head Coach

The Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) has formalized an agreement to name Terri DeWitt as the 2017/2018 Head coach of the newly developed SCTP-USAS National Team!

DeWitt, a 20 year member of the US Army Marksmanship Unit’s shotgun team and 1996 Olympian in Woman’s Double Trap has agreed to head up the 12 person team (6 men / 6 ladies) that formally starts September 1st 2017 and runs through August 31st of 2018. Team members must earn their way on to the team by placing in the top 3 positions in Bunker Trap and International Skeet at the SCTP’s International National Championships held at the US International Shooting Park in Colorado Springs, CO. each year.

“The SCTP National Team will provide young shotgun athletes an amazing opportunity to enter the Olympic pipeline with support and guidance!” Said Terri DeWitt, Head Coach – SCTP National Team. “I’m tremendously excited to be a part of this program and look forward to working with these talented and highly motivated athletes. Congratulations to the SCTP, its sponsors, and to USA Shooting for making their shared Olympic vision a reality.”

Terri’s 4th place finish in the ‘96 Olympics, 5 time National record holder, earner of 6 National Championship Titles and 16 World Cup & World Championship medals certainly make her more than qualified to lead this team!

“We couldn’t be more proud to name Terri as the head coach!” Said Tom Wondrash, SCTP National Director. “This opportunity for SCTP athletes has been in consideration for several years now and with the help from USA Shooting we are extremely happy to get it off the ground. Opening doors and helping define a clearer path to the Olympic dream is what the SCTP is all about!”

Terri is also a Level 3 NRA Certified Shotgun Instructor and is finishing her Master’s degree in sport coaching as well as attending the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) Coach School to attain international certification. Most recently, Terri served as the MidwayUSA Foundation Program Manager for the eastern U.S.

SCTP National Team Sponsorship opportunities are also available, if interested please contact Tom Wondrash, SCTP National Director at twondrash@sssfonline.com

International Clay Target Shooters Invited to Western Regional / AZ Junior Olympic Championships

SCTP shooters who compete in the international disciplines are invited to participate in the 2015 SCTP Western Regional International Tournament, which will run concurrently with the 2015 Arizona State Junior Olympic Clay Target Championships.

Sanctioned by USA Shooting, the competition will be held at the USA Shooting Southwest Regional Training Center at Tucson Trap and Skeet Club in Tucson, Arizona. Competition will be May 16-17, with official practice the previous day. Invitations to the National Junior Olympic Shooting Championships will be granted to some participants.

To be eligible for the 2015 SCTP Western Regional International Tournament, you must be registered with the Arizona Junior Olympic Clay Target Championships first, then register with the 2015 SCTP Western Regional International Tournament on www.sssfonline.org.

Endowment funds will be provided for the SCTP Western Regional International Tournament.

Click here to learn all the details and to register.

SCTP Shooters Take USAS Team to Gold Medal and World Championship

2014 Junior World Team Champions: Sydney Carson, Hannah Houston, and Dania Vizzi
2014 Junior World Team Champions:
Sydney Carson, Hannah Houston, and Dania Vizzi
Three SCTP shooters comprising the Junior World USA Shooting Team have won a team gold medal and set an International Skeet world record last week at the 2014 World Shooting Championships in Granada, Spain.

Dania Vizzi of Odessa, Florida, Sydney Carson of North Liberty, Indiana and Hannah Houston of Columbia, Tennessee, earned a Junior World Team title in record-breaking fashion with a world’s-best score of 204, 11 targets ahead of second-place Czech Republic.

In addition, Dania Vizzi won individual honors as the Junior World Champion in Women’s Skeet. Sydney finished 5th overall individually, and Hannah finished 8th.

World Champion Dania Vizzi
World Champion Dania Vizzi
Through 75 shots of qualifying, Dania led her nearest competitor by three targets, an almost unheard-of advantage in skeet. While she wasn’t as dominant during the semifinals and finals, she didn’t have to be because neither were her opponents. She connected on 13/16 targets in the semifinal to advance to the final where she’d again connect on 13 targets to her opponent’s 12.

“I’m very satisfied,” Vizzi said. “It was a hard day and I’m happiest that I stayed consistent and focused all day. My main goal was to compete better than I did last year, and the result was amazing.” Dania, who started competitive shooting as a member of the Tampa Bay Clays SCTP team, now shoots for the University of Florida, also an SCTP team.

Congratulations to Dania, Sydney, and Hannah! We’re proud of you!

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