Henry County’s Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) has done it again. You probably don’t want to get in a gunfight with these guys!
Not only did they recently win the Tennessee State Championship, but also before their barrels had cooled off good, they ventured north to Columbus, Ohio, and won the national championship!
Just last week, these sharpshooters from Tennessee brought home all the bacon at the national level, where stiff competition from around the nation was there vying for the recognition and titles, as well.
If Alvin York were alive, he’d be proud of his fellow Tennesseans, too. From one sharpshooter to another, he’d be right there to greet them, no doubt.
For quite some time, these kids have shot together under the guidance of several ace coaches who have taken the time and effort to keep these youngsters going in the right direction.
Apparently the long hours spent right here at home practicing at Holley Fork Shooting Complex have paid huge dividends.
Since winning several titles at the state, regional and now national levels, these kids have more ribbons and medals than a thoroughbred winning the Triple Crown!
If there isn’t a trophy case somewhere in Henry County displaying all their accolades, there sure ought to be.
Those of you who have shot a few rounds at area gun clubs over the years know it takes a lot of practice to hone your skills, but some of it has to be just natural born talent, too.
Most of us who have hunted wild game or competed at a local shooting range know how tough it is to keep your swing and follow-through going.
With practice and experience comes that natural shot to the point the good shooter just throws up the gun and makes it happen without having to think about it.
Good shooters make it look easy. They don’t diagram the sequence of mounting the gun, aiming and leading their targets. It just happens, as they’ve honed their talent time and again.
Most shooters at this level are a cut above the rest.
By now, they’re pulling the trigger on a pretty fancy gun tailored to their needs — from good shooting glasses to stocks and forearms fitted just right and recoil reducers that help them shoot hundreds of targets without punishment to the shoulder.
These youngsters are throwing up a shotgun that’s a bit different from the old bird gun some of us used to brag about. Light triggers and ported barrels keep the gun from jumping too much.
Like an Olympian, these youngsters are dressed out, too, sporting slick shooting vests that complement their attributes.
They’ve earned respect. Henry County has a reason to be proud of both the coaches who spent long hours with these youngsters and the shooters themselves for sticking with it.
It’s not every day you win state, regional and national titles in any sport! Tip your hat to all these young men and their coaches. After all, they’re national champions!
FROM BILL NEESE
Eight-year skeet-shooting coach Bill Neese provided the following details of Henry County’s shooting program:
After a stellar showing in the West Tennessee Regional Tournament, the Henry County No Fly Zone Team moved on to Nashville for the state championships.
The varsity skeet team made another clean sweep. Briar Ray, Aaron Conrad and Drew James were the top three scorers for Henry County and captured the State Varsity Skeet Team Championship.
The squad of Gray Gardner, Caleb Orr and Stuart Archer won the Varsity Skeet Squad Championship and Conrad, Ray and Scott Hicks took second place.
The varsity skeet team has won both Team Championship and Squad Championship and Squad Runner-Up in Regional and State Competition. These guys are on a roll.
Alysha Bevill is the 2018 Ladies State Varsity Skeet Champion and Ray took third in the Individual Men’s Division. Varsity skeet coaches are Bill Neese, Keith Ray and Tas Gardner.
The junior varsity skeet team of Kyle Leuci, Austin Fuson and Sawyer Williams took the second-place team title.
The squad of Williams, Fuson and Andrew Hunter Smith took second place in Junior Varsity Skeet Squad.
Shelby Summers placed third in the Individual Junior Varsity Ladies Skeet Division.
The junior varsity skeet coach is Drew Williams.
The intermediate advanced skeet team of Dalton Dodd, Wade Tucker and Chas Wade placed second in the team competition.
The Individual Skeet Champion, Dodd, shot a perfect score of 100, the only perfect skeet score of the tournament in any age group! Way to go, Dalton!
The intermediate advanced coaches are Doug Overton and Dustin Mackey.
In trap, the intermediate advanced team did it up big time, winning the IA Team Championship with the high scores of Dodd, Hudson Cepparulo, Braydon Tosh, Will Overton and Miles Mackey.
The IA took the third-place among trap squads with Dodd, Overton, Cepparulo, Wade and Tosh. Dodd was the third-place individual men’s trap winner.
The IA trap coaches are Dustin Mackey and Doug Overton.
The rookies took the Team and third-place Squad Trap Championship with Remington Lowe, Caden Delaney, Parker James, Collin Whitehead and Drew Overton bringing home the honors and medals.
The rookie trap coach is Doug Overton.
In sporting clays, our intermediate advanced athletes swept the event.
Dodd, Overton and Miles Mackey shot for the Team and Squad Championship.
The High Overall Award combines scores in Skeet, Trap and Sporting Clays to determine the winners.
Dodd was Intermediate Individual High Overall Award.
The intermediate advanced team won the High Overall Award, as well.
The senior team placed Third HOA.
SCTP NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
After the great showing at state, the No Fly Zone headed for the national championships in Marengo, Ohio, just outside Columbus, the week of July 16.
The Henry County No Fly Zone Team has become a well-recognized national power house over the last several years and these young folks had every intention of keeping it that way.
They were competing with 3,400 shooters from 28 states, including 1,700 varsity shooters.
The Varsity Skeet Team has been a real juggernaut this year.
Capturing the West Tennessee and Tennessee State Team Championships and Squad Championships wasn’t enough. The Second Squad took Runner-Up Squad in the Regional and State Competitions, making it a clean sweep.
At nationals, the first squad of Gray Gardner, Caleb Orr and Stuart Archer and the second squad of Aaron Conrad, Briar Ray and Scott Hicks decided they would take the top two spots at nationals even though such an achievement is unheard of.
But they did it, a clean sweep in Varsity Skeet. Gardner, Orr and Archer took the Championship and Conrad, Ray and Hicks the Runner-Up spot.
Still not satisfied, Gardner, Ray and Orr entered the double skeet event, the only other skeet event, and brought home another national championship for the No Fly Zone Skeet Team.
Over the last eight years, various age categories of the No Fly Zone Skeet Teams have won six national championships, five national runners-up trophies and three national third-place honors, two Mid-West regional championships and numerous state and West Tennessee titles.
Also, seven Henry Countians will be shooting this fall on significant scholarships at various colleges.
As the chief official at nationals said, for a team to win first and second in regional, state and national over a few short weeks shows tremendous focus and determination and then to add a doubles title is truly amazing.
The rookies squad of Caden Delaney, Parker James and Drew Overton took silver in the Doubles Skeet Event and Addison Delaney was third in the Individual Ladies Class.
The intermediate advanced squad of Will Overton, Evan Bevill and Dalton Dodd placed third.
The Intermediate Advanced Squad Second of Dodd, Overton and Bevill won the Silver Medal in 200 Target Skeet placing second in their division, and Dodd placed fourth among Intermediate Advanced Individual Men.
The big winners in Intermediate Advanced Sporting Clays were Dodd, Overton and Miles Mackey, taking the national championship in this event.
Overton placed fifth in the Intermediate Advanced Individual Men’s competition.
Dodd was the High Over All IA winner, and that is a very big honor.
The No Fly Zone members had a very big year again, and are looking forward to 2019.
STEVE McCADAMS is The Post-Intelligencer’s outdoors writer. His email address is email@example.com.