The Scholastic Clay Target Program's national championship event included very formidable competition.
Two squads from the Evans City Youth Trap Team were part of the field and represented themselves very well.
The event, held July 11-18 in Marengo, Ohio, included teams from 35 states.
Evans City's senior varsity shooters (under 18 years old) included Kierstin Beahm, Jimmy Hazlett, Bailey Ignosh, Hunter Cain and Colton Noble. With each shooter taking aim at 200 targets, the quartet connected on 925 out of 1,000 fot seventh out of 140 teams.
Cain earned an award for hitting 75 straight targets and Beahm one for 50 straight. The targets are roughly 40 yards away by the time a shooter either misses or hits them.
“When our coach told me that we finished that high, I was speechless,” said Cain, a 19-year-old shooter from Adams Township. “Nationals is a whole different experience. Before I take the line, I sing a song in my head. Then I keep it in my head the whole time. It helps me focus on the next target if I miss one.”
The sub-junior team (under 12 years) of Andrew Silvestri, Adam Zoelle, Aiden Kephart, Leland Walsh and Alex Tweed hit 776 targets and finished 40th, in the top third of the standings.
“I knew we could hold our own,” said Evans City coach Danielle Green-Ritenour. “When it came to place, it was a toss-up because you don't know what the other teams are going to do. I felt our kids represented the team very well.”
Prior to the national competition, Evans City sent a number of its shooters to the Pennsylvania State Shoot.
Clay Bricker, Luke Wilson, Cain, Max Blaine and Steven Trimble shot 475 out of 500 to finish third among senior varsity teams, while Blaine placed first individually (99/100).
Sub-juniors Joey Huff, Lyle Goodworth, Silvestri, Zoelle and Walsh placed first (353/500). Silvestri placed second as did Kephart in the rookie division.
Evans City's youth trap shooters number between 40 and 50 overall, with 20 of them shooting competitively. They practice at Evans City Sportsmen's Club.
Beahm, 17 of Renfrew, has been with Evans City's team for three seasons.
“My mom and pap, they always wanted me to try it,” she said. “I wasn't sure what to think of it at first, but once I got into it, I fell in love with it.
“Coach Green is always encouraging us and everybody is supportive. My shooting family, if someone does well, we're happy for them. It's very easy-going.”
Like Beahm, Cain's family got him into trap shooting.
“My uncles, Chip and Travis Walsh, used to go out and I'd go with them. Four years into it, I joined the (Evans City) team. This was my last season competing for them, but Colton Noble and I plan to go to states and nationals next year to support the team and compete as adults.”
Green-Ritenour competed in trap shooting at the collegiate level for Midland University in Nebraska. Before that, she shot for Evans City's youth team and graduated from Seneca Valley High School in 2013.