Tag: National Team Championships

There’s No Stopping Stu

Stu Wright
Stu Wright is a man on a mission, and that mission is his 32 athletes here competing in the 2015 National Team Championships. Nothing is going to keep him from watching them take a run at the title…not even Stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

Stu is the head coach of the Pinckneyville Community High School shooting program. The owner of Wright’s, a gun shop he opened in the mid 70’s which caters to the clay target shooter, started his high school coaching career back in 2002 when he was asked to coach the school’s FFA squad.

At the time there were just five shooters, enough for a competition squad. Today his program has 32 solid shooters competing in trap, skeet and sporting clays. Here at Nationals he has six seniors who have been with him from between four and seven years, and missing their final run at a national title isn’t something that he’s going to miss.

On Thursday, the first day he could get out of bed after chemo, Stu made it to the World Shooting & Recreational Complex to watch his kids compete in sporting clays. He showed up not knowing where they stood or if they even had a chance at a title. When he found out how they were shooting, well, as Stu put it, “there’s no getting me out of here.”

Led by senior Andy Opp, who was the only high school team shooter to post a perfect 100 on Wednesday and followed that up with 95 on Thursday to claim the individual High Overall title, PCHS Shooting Sports finished as the first place high school team, with 562, and second place among all teams. That made Thursday a very good day in Stu’s book.

Five months ago, back on February 6, Stu Wright learned he had cancer. On February 10 Andy and the rest of his team, the coaches and parents got the news, too.

“It was rough getting the news but then everybody stepped up,” said Opp in describing how the close knit group took the news.

Up until last year Stu Wright was the coach of the team, carrying most all of the responsibility with help from assistant coach Donny Nehring who coached the sporting clays shooters and traveled with the team to major events.

But last year there were 22 team shooters and this year there are 32, a big jump for a community of just 2,500. Stu realized he needed help and built a team of assistant coaches for this season.

“Now I have four fine guys that picked up the torch,” says Wright. And picking up the torch is exactly what was needed since February. Chemo takes a lot out of a person, even one with the drive and enthusiasm that Stu Wright seems to have an endless supply of. On those days, the bad days as Wright refers to them, he refuses to be around the kids because he doesn’t want his cancer to be their burden.

Wright’s motto is ‘Fun With A Gun’ and that’s why he won’t get in the way of his kids’ fun with his cancer. Opp describes his coach as “one of a kind” and says, “Nobody’s going to be like Stu. He’s strict but fun and we always seem to be laughing.”

Going into today’s American Trap finals, Stu’s kids, the boys from that small, tight community of Pinckneyville, Illinois, are ahead by 34 targets after breaking a 482 in their quest for the high school team title, making Coach Wright a very happy man.

With no hope of hiding his pride in their first day’s performance Stu gushes, “That’s totally over our head.” And then he says of his cancer and recent round of chemo, “I have no side effects. I’m on top of the world and it doesn’t get any better than this.”

And that’s why there’s no stopping Stu Wright.

Trap, It’s A Family Thing

Carter Kramer only started shooting trap this past October. But the 12 year old from Quincy, Illinois, was already an active hunter. And while he hunted duck, dove and rabbit whenever the opportunity arose, he has fallen hard for those small orange clay disks.

“I love it because it’s a challenge,” said Carter about his foray into trap. And it’s a challenge the young shooter continues to rise to.

Though very new to trap he has already logged his first 25 straight, and yesterday, armed with a Remington 870 Wingmaster, Carter added another 87 targets to his career total when he and the rest of his Quivering Clays team shot their first 100 of the SCTP American Trap Team Championship.

Though his first 50 still alludes him, Carter is determined to reach that next trap milestone and move on to his first 100 straight this year.

Young athletes like Carter don’t get into trapshooting, and all the way to Sparta, Illinois, and the National Team Championships, without some family support. And for the Kramer family, it’s not just some support but a lot.

Carter’s father Dan started shooting clay targets at the age of 9 using an old spring loaded hand trap and is happy to see his oldest son getting into the sport. Younger brother Austin, 10, is ready to join Carter on the shooting line next year while 5 year old brother Kayden is still a couple years away from joining the Kramer squad.

The Kramers road tripped south to Sparta in force. Joining dad and the boys are mom, granddad and, of course, grandma Donna Lohmeyer who helps herd the boys when Carter isn’t shooting and the sights and sounds of a bustling national championship venue seem to pull them in every direction all at once.

Clearly trapshooting is, indeed, a family event.

Young Women Make Up 18.4% Of Athletes At Nationals

A 2013 research report from the National Shooting Sports Foundation entitled Analysis of Sport Shooting Participation in the U.S. 2008-2012 found that not only were new shooters likely to be younger with 66% falling in the 18-to-34-year-old age group, but they were also likely to be female. NSSF’s findings showed that 37% of new target shooters were women.

Looking around the grounds of the World Shooting & Recreational Complex in Sparta, Illinois, it’s clear that young women are a fast growing segment of both the Scholastic Clay Target Program and the Scholastic Pistol Program.

At this year’s National Team Championships those young ladies with shotguns slung over their shoulders, and those with a pistol tucked away in their range bag, make up 18.4% of the total 2,800-plus athletes in attendance. Among the 2,466 shotgunners they are 17.6% while on the pistol ranges they account for nearly a quarter (24.3%) of the 345 competitors.

Gender Participation
If the broad smiles exhibited during Wednesday night’s Opening Ceremony are any indication, the number of young female athletes participating in the shooting programs of the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation is likely to grow.


Last Competitor Standing Results

One of the highlights of Nationals week for SCTP athletes is the opportunity to compete in a massive Last Competitor Standing event that give them the opportunity to win guns, gear, and even a scholarship. The event has two components on each of two nights: a competition for anyone who wishes to compete, with men’s and ladies winners taking home guns and other prizes, followed by a competition just for 2015 graduating seniors who competed for $1,000 scholarships presented by the NRA.

Caitlin Cravens and Lane Reinikainen
Wednesday night’s winners Caitlin Cravens and Lane Reinikainen
On Wednesday night, Caitlin Cravens of the Hudson Raiders (Wisconsin) and Lane Reinikainen of the Rice Lake Warbirds (Wisconsin) outlasted more than 500 other competitors to each win a CZ-USA 612 Trap gun.

Among the graduates who competed for $1,000 scholarships, Tori Mann of Maryland and Kolton Manning of Iowa won the Ladies’ and Men’s scholarships, respectively.

Kolton Manning - Tori Mann

During Friday night’s competition, Andy Opp of Pinckneyville High School (IL) finished as the top men’s competitor, while Sabrina Peterson of St. Charles Sportsman’s Club (IL) was the last woman standing. Both won CZ-USA 612 Trap guns.

Winning $1,000 NRA scholarships on Friday night were Amber Rasmussen and Bobby Tate, both of Wisconsin.

Other shooters in the top 10 each night won Nobel Sport ammunition, Randolph Range shooting glasses, and Shamrock Leathers ammo holders.

Please check back for corrected top 10 competitors list

Top Five States At The 2015 Nationals


Participation at the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation’s 2015 National Team Championships is broad reaching with 28 states represented. Nearly three quarters (74.1%) of the 2,800+ shooters come from just five states. Here’s how athletes from the SSSF’s Big 5 break out.

Tennessee (25.3%)
The Volunteer State accounts for 25.3% of all athletes with 601 competing in SCTP (24.4%) and 109 (31.6%) in SPP.

Illinois (18.6%)
The home of the World Shooting & Recreational Complex, the Land of Lincoln sent 484 (19.6%) of shotgunners and 40 (11.6%) of the pistol competitors.

Wisconsin (14.9%)
The Badger State athletes came to shoot with 371 (15.0%) in SCTP and 47 (13.6%) in SPP.

Iowa (8.1%)
The Hawkeye State rolled in with 200 (8.2%) of the SCTP athletes and 29 (8.4%) of those in SPP.

Missouri (7.2%)
The Show-Me State showed up with 202 (8.2%) SCTP competitors, and despite not having any shooters in the SPP Nationals they still hold down fifth overall on this list.


First Time at Nationals? Keep These 10 Tips in Mind

WSRC Main Events Building
The Main Events Building is where you’ll find Registration and the answers to your questions.

If you’re going to Sparta, Illinois for your first SCTP-SPP National Team Championships, your head may be spinning with questions. While we can’t offer you a secret for taking home a medal, we can offer you some tips to enhance your enjoyment of Nationals.

  • Read the program. Almost anything you need to know can be found in the Nationals program. You will be able to pick up a printed copy when you arrive at the World Shooting and Recreational Complex, but you can also view it online anytime.

  • Do it all! Participate in as many activities as possible, including the side games. Cover the grounds to see what’s going on, see the exhibition shooting events, and watch anything you aren’t actively engaged in.
  • Stay for the after-hours activities. If you shoot your event and leave every day, you’ll be missing out on fun activities like Last Competitor Standing events, opening ceremonies, the pizza party, an ice cream social, and more.
  • Sign up for text messaging. We’ll pass along information about activities, schedule changes, and other things you need to know to those who opt in. Sign up here.
  • Visit the vendor mall. You’ll have the unique opportunity to visit with many manufacturers of shooting equipment in their own stores at the WSRC. Even if you aren’t buying, it’s the perfect opportunity to work on your wish list.
  • Take photos. Shoot as many photos as you can to help you remember this wonderful experience. Share them in social media with hashtag #SSSF2015, and when you get back home, share them with any sponsors, businesses, or civic groups who support you or have interest in your team.
  • Meet new people. While you will be there with your own team, don’t miss the opportunity to make new friends from all over the country. Be bold and introduce yourself.
  • If you have questions or don’t understand something, just ask. We won’t remember to tell you everything you need to know, but we’re happy for you to ask us. Catch a staff member anytime you see us, and if we aren’t convenient, just head to the Main Events Building. You can get an answer or help there for anything going on at Nationals.
  • Remember that many others are also new. It’s easy to feel intimidated when we enter a new event this large, and we all tend to think we’re the only ones who don’t know how something works. But that isn’t the case at Nationals. You’ll see hundreds of new people all over the place, figuring things out for the first time. You aren’t alone!
  • Have fun! After being safe, the most important thing for you to do at Nationals is enjoy yourself. Shooting is fun, being there with your friends is fun, making new friends is fun — everything at Nationals is fun! Go for it!

Two New SCTP Side Events Being Offered at 2015 Nationals

Coaches and athletes will have two new side events to participate in at this year’s SCTP National Team Championships.

Preliminary 16-Yard Trap Singles

    Athletes and teams can register to shoot some preliminary trap targets in this Monday/Tuesday side event. These targets will be registered and we will have some awards for squads and Individuals.

Preliminary 16-Yard Trap Singles – Coach/Athlete

    Coaches and athletes get the chance to compete together! The coach’s score counts as one of the five squad scores. Coaches sign up in the #1 spot and squad four athletes in the next four spots. Squads with coach and four Intermediate/Rookie shooters will be in the Intermediate Division; coach and four Senior Division athletes will be in the Senior Division; and a mixed squad will be in the Open Division. Only one coach per four athletes is eligible. This is designed to be a fun competition, but targets are registered and awards will be offered. This event is sponsored by the ATA.

Plan Your Trip to Nationals with the 2015 National Team Championships Program

2015 Nationals ProgramYou can learn about everything that’s happening at the 2015 National Team Championships with the event program, and it’s ready for your perusal. Use it to plan your schedule, learn about side events, or just stoke your excitement for the biggest event of the year!

The program also includes information on the SCTP International-Style National Championships in Colorado Springs.

View Nationals Program

The SCTP and SPP National Team Championships will be July 13-18 at the World Shooting and Recreational Complex in Sparta, Illinois. Based on opening-week registrations that were almost double 2014 numbers, staff are expecting to have a record-breaking event.

If your team hasn’t yet registered, do it today!

SSSF Extends Agreement with WSRC to Host Nationals Through 2017

Art Ashbrook, Ben Berka
Art Ashbrook, left, and Ben Berka

The Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation has contracted with the World Shooting and Recreational Complex (WSRC) to hold its National Team Championships at the Sparta, Illinois facility through 2017. Ben Berka, SSSF President and Executive Director, and Art Ashbrook, WSRC Executive Director, signed the agreement recently to formalize the three-year extension of the foundation’s relationship with the complex.

“We are pleased to call Sparta ‘Home of the SSSF National Championships’ and look forward to meeting our SSSF extended family there each year during the second full week of July,” said Berka. “The Illinois Department of Natural Resources staff at the World Shooting and Recreational Complex are great to work with and are committed to working together with the SSSF to accommodate our growth, both in numbers of participants and in the diversity of events we are offering.”

WSRA’s Ashbrook echoed those sentiments. “The World Shooting and Recreational Complex and the IDNR are extremely pleased by the commitment of the SSSF to hold its National Championships here for the next three years, and hopefully for the next 100,” said Ashbrook. “We think we work very well together, serving the community and young shooters alike.”

More than 10,000 people came to Sparta for the 2014 SCTP National Team Championship and SPP Junior/Senior National Championship at the WSRC in July, including approximately 2500 shooters plus coaches, family members, and other supporters.

SCTP and SPP Make History with National Championships

More than 2500 young shooters, along with thousands of coaches, family members, and supporters, descended upon the World Shooting and Recreational Complex in Sparta, Ill. last week for the largest youth shooting event ever held, the SCTP and SPP National Championships.

The July 14-19 event saw significant increases in virtually every metric over 2013’s record-setting Nationals. In the SCTP event alone, competitors shot 715,000 targets, a 35% increase over last year. Shooters from 175 SCTP teams came from 26 states.

SPP also saw its own increases. In only its second Junior/Senior National Championship, SPP experienced an increase of 62% in participant numbers, hosting 326 shooters representing 39 teams from 15 states. Earlier this year, SPP hosted a separate Collegiate National Championship with close to 100 shooters from 24 squads.

See National Championship Scores and Results

With the largest contingency of shooters, Trap had almost 1900 participants, a 19% increase. A total of 736 shooters shot Skeet for a 29% growth, and the 677 Sporting Clays shooters represented a 30% increase.

Of the 2180 SCTP shooters, 1818 were male and 361 female.

“An event of this magnitude could only take place so successfully with a great deal of hard work and dedication from our student athletes, coaches, parents, team volunteers, and our own staff,” said Ben Berka, President and Executive Director of the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation (SSSF), which powers SCTP and SPP. “We are especially grateful to our many sponsors and benefactors who make it possible for us to create an unforgettable experience for our athletes. We also owe kudos to the World Shooting and Recreational Complex, a remarkable venue that hosted our thousands of shooters and spectators with ease. We look forward to hosting our 2015 National Championships there.”

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