Local shooting team brings home national championship

The members of the Lake Oconee Shotgun Team and its coaches pose together for a photo at the 2018 Scholastic Clay Target Program national competition in Ohio.

PHOTO: Contributed 

The Lake Oconee Shotgun Team (LOST) is the national champion.

The team recently secured the 2018 Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) National Championship in the competition that was held from July 14 to July 21 at the Cardinal Shooting Center in Marengo,Ohio. LOST hit a total of 2,112 targets out of a possible 2,200, which was six targets ahead of the second place team, Forest City Juniors out of Savannah, Georgia. The competition included 275 teams from 26 states and more than 2,700 athletes. An estimated 1.25 million competition shots were fired over the eight days.

"They really work hard," said Teena Garland, one of the LOST coaches. "The more they shoot, the more they compete and the better they will be. They have the school season from August to December and take the month of January off. Then, they get right back into it from February to July. So, they're pretty much shooting year-round. That's where we give credit for their abilities. They have more opportunities to compete because they shoot with their school team and shoot year-round."

The SCTP competition includes the disciplines of sporting clays, skeet and trap. Each competitor on each team shoots a total of 200 targets in each discipline. Sporting clays and skeet squads are comprised of three members of the team in the same division. Trap squads are comprised of five members.

The top squad scores in each discipline for the team are combined for the total team score. LOST had a top sporting clays squad score of 581/600, a skeet score of 565/600 and a trap score of 966/1,000.

LOST consists of 36 shooters from Putnam, Hancock, Greene, Morgan, Jasper, Washington and Baldwin counties. At the helm is head coach Steve Lane along with various assistant coaches. The divisions of shooters are Rookie (elementary school), Intermediate Entry (middle school first-year shooter), Intermediate Advanced (middle school second- or third-year shooter), Junior Varsity (high school first-year shooter), Senior Varsity (high school second-, third- or fourth-year shooter), Collegiate and Open (squads consisting of mixed aged divisions).

Team members include: Rookie shooters Drew Urrutia, Jackson Lundy, Evan Dowd, Matthew Lewis, Wyatt Sims and Mason Sinclair; IE shooters Haidyn Stewart, Jake Vaughn, Mason Bear, Slaton Bell, Brett Brown, Mason Hudgins, Noah Human, Miller Lewis, Luke McNeil and Drew Maddox; IA shooters Jesse Lewis, Tyler Urrutia, Kaleb Moore, Mason Jackson, Dylan Sinclair and Parker Dowd; JV shooters Braden Strickland and Kolby LaGana; SV shooters Aaron Copelan, Riley Downs, Graham Eubanks, Baylor Garland, Hunter Griffin, Hank Hall, Nash Sinclair and Hagen Young; Collegiate shooters Jasper Copelan, Taylor Hyatt, Julianna Johnson and Guy Nelson.

Not only did the team earn the title of High Overall National Champion, but several squads and individuals earned that title and other awards in particular disciplines. 

Garland was named the National Champion High Overall individual in the varsity division with a week-long score of 589/600 targets hit; Nash Sinclair earned third. In the Sporting Clays discipline, the LOST members earned third n IE, second in IA, second in Open and are national champions in SV; individual awards included Stewart (IE) fifth, Garland (SV) fourth.

In the skeet discipline, the team earned fourth in Rookie, fifth in IE, fourth in IA and third in Open; individual awards included Drew Urrutia (Rookie) third. In the Double Skeet discipline, the LOST members earned second in SV and are national champions in Rookie; individual awards included Evan Dowd (Rookie) national champion, Drew Urrutia (Rookie) third, Stewart (IE) second, Jesse Lewis (IA) national champion and Taylor Hyatt (Collegiate) second.

In the Bunker Trap discipline, the team earned third in IE; individual awards included Stewart (IE) second. In the Doubles Trap discipline, the team earned third in IA and third in SV; individual awards included Stewart (IE) second and Johnson (Collegiate) national champion.

In the Handicap Trap discipline, the team earned third in SV; individual awards included Stewart (IE) second. In the Trap discipline, the team earned fourth-high overall team for its combined scores of doubles trap, handicap trap and singles trap; individual awards included Garland (SV) third with a perfect score of 200/200.

Congratulations to all the members of LOST.

-Contributed

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