By TAYLOR LUCKIE
For The Union Democrat
The Mother Lode Gun Club Nuggets and Sonora High Trap Club youth shooting teams attended the inaugural Youth Shooting Sports Association United States Open national championship shoot in Las Vegas.
The two teams traveled to the U.S. Open after shooting at the California state championship in mid-June.
After the MLGC Nuggets earned first place at the state championship in the rookie division, they followed up at the U.S. Open and accomplished the exact same feat.
Taylor Anderson shot a pair of 91s over the course of the two-day event, both personal bests, to post a score of 182 out of 200 and take home the title of 2011 national champion.
Anderson, 11, who has only been shooting since March, was ecstatic about the way she shot.
“It feels really cool to be the champion at the nationals,” said Anderson.
After such a successful first five months in this fast-growing sport, it appears as though she will have a bright future as a trapshooter.
“I want to shoot until I graduate high school, then I’m going to become a coach,” said Anderson.
Sonora High’s trap team also did quite well.
Junior varsity shooter Zane Hedgpeth, 15, tied for third place with a 193. He then went on to win his shootoff, defeating his opponent with a perfect 25 out of 25 to claim third place outright.
Sonora also did very well as a team, tying for second place in the “High Five” accumulative score, which combines the top five scores of the top five shooters from each club. The team ended up tying Granite Bay High School with a score of 914 out of 1,000.
A pair of Sonora High shooters also accomplished firsts for themselves.
Recent graduate Cody Weeks shot his first ever 75 straight, eventually reaching 81 before dropping a clay. He ended the event with a 191 in the varsity division.
“It felt great to shoot my first 75 straight at the U.S. Open,” said Weeks who is in his final year of shooting. “I’ve been shooting for awhile and haven’t been able to come close to that. I definitely have to credit all of my coaches on Sonora as well as all the coaches from Summerville and Mother Lode. I couldn’t have done it without all of them. It seems like all of our shooters were at the top of their game and shooting personal bests.”
Indeed they were, as Zack Blackmore had a similar day.
Blackmore, always a solid shooter, had yet to shoot his first 25 straight targets. At the U.S. Open, he stepped up and accomplished it during his third round of the first day.
It was a well-deserved achievement for a worthy shooter.
With the 2011 YSSF U.S. Open, the shooting season comes to a close. For the next six months shooters will practice when they can and prepare for next season which begins in March.