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Tag: National Team Championships

Young Women Make Up 18.4% Of Athletes At Nationals

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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.

 

A Personal Best…10 Times

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Coach Rick Leach of the Ozaukee Scholastic Shooting Sports (Wisconsin) had a lot to be happy about this morning. Coming off the Scholastic Pistol Program ranges his team of 13 shooters finished the match strong. Real strong.

After going over the times, and double checking his math, Coach Leach confirmed that 10 of his 13 athletes had shot new personal records, and at the best possible time too, during the National Team Championships.

While each was a significant accomplishment both for the team and its coach, Leach couldn’t conceal his pride in the fact that one of those record times was that of his daughter Mikaela, who three years ago shot over 400 seconds at her first Nationals and was hoping this year to just break 100.

She finished this morning’s match with a time of 87.95 seconds.

Mikaela, who had already competed in the Sporting Clays and Skeet Nationals – where she also shot a personal best – is out on the trap fields competing in her fourth Nationals this week, the American Trap Team National Championship.

She freely admits to having what she calls “a gun powder addiction.”

Of course she couldn’t leave the pistol range without first reporting in to Ed Fitzgerald of Glock. Fitzgerald was there in 2013 when she first shot the Nationals and jumped in with some much needed shooting advice when Mikaela was struggling and missing more than she was hitting. So you could say he’s a little invested in Mikaela’s success and was happy to hear how her match went today…and it didn’t hurt that she blew through her sub 100 second goal with a Glock model 34 pistol.

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Top Five States At The 2015 Nationals

SSSF-States

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.

SCTP-SPP States

Coley Holding Court

Shane Coley
For those shooting in the Scholastic Pistol Program Nationals this week, program sponsor and firearms maker Glock brought in one of its big guns – Shane Coley.

Fresh from a six-year stint in the U.S. Army where he served with the famed U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, Shane joined Team Glock earlier this summer taking on the role of team captain.

This week the 24 year old Mississippi native is working the pistol match helping the young shooters and along the way hopefully shedding some light on the secret ways of going fast for those looking to post personal records on the pistol ranges of the World Shooting & Recreational Complex here in Sparta, Illinois.

One secret Shane shared was on the subject of math, which probably wasn’t what most of the young shooters expected, or wanted now that school is out. But it is understanding the timing on each individual component of a shooting run and how they add up that he stressed. As well as the importance of working with an electronic shot timer.

For the parents watching Team Glock’s new top gun the questions during his morning seminar focused on reloading ammunition and whether or not an up and coming young shooter can make a living in the sport.

For Shane Coley the answer to that question is most definitely ‘Yes.’

Tennessee’s Real Pistol Powerhouse

Lacey Lane
Lacey Lane of McKenzie, Tennessee, just might be the most important woman in youth pistol shooting sports today. The 24 year old works for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation, the non-profit arms of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, where she oversees the Scholastic Pistol Program (SPP) in the Volunteer State.

So, why is this young lady so important to youth shooting sports?

Well, with somewhere around 135 SPP shooters hailing from Tennessee, her kids make up 11.7% of the 1,150 participating nationwide, and at this year’s SPP Nationals, taking place at the World Shooting & Recreational Complex in Sparta, Illinois, her squads account for 31.6% of those competing for the national titles.

Working with young shooters comes naturally to Lacey since she grew up in the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) when it was first founded by the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Today it’s the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation which serves as the national governing body of both SCTP and SPP, and is running the National Team Championships this week in Sparta.

With several years background competing in the programs, and armed with a degree in Natural Resources Management and Wildlife Fisheries from the University of Tennessee, she signed on with TWRF after they created the position of Tennessee State Director for SPP last November, putting the responsibility for promoting the state’s youth handgun shooting sports participation squarely on her shoulders.

Considering the prominent role her home state plays in SSSF’s youth shooting sports, and the ease with which she interacts with the staff and volunteers tasked with overseeing the national match, most of which are male and in many cases significantly older, it’s pretty clear that Lacey’s shoulders can handle the burden.

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!

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.”

Sign Up for Nationals Text Alert Service

Have you ever been to an event when the weather took a wet turn, and you wondered if the show would go on, or if there would be a delay, or if you should stay at the hotel — or what? Most of us have, and it isn’t a fun predicament.

Although we’ve requested perfect weather during the upcoming SCTP – SPP National Team Championships in Sparta, IL, we’re offering a text alert service that will allow us to keep you posted — just in case. We’ll also make daily announcements about events, schedule changes, opportunities to win prizes, and other things you should know.

This is strictly an opt-in service using an app that will protect your number and automatically delete it on July 21. In fact, we will never even see your phone number, so you don’t have to worry about it being used for anything else. You can also opt out of the service at any time during the event.

This a free service provided by SSSF; however, you should check your cell service plan to determine if there would be a charge from your provider for several text messages each day.

If you’d like to opt in for our Nationals text alert service, just click the button below.

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