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Central Mountain High School clay target team grows and has earned top marks in competitions

PHOTO PROVIDED Drew Vangorder zeros in on his target during a league event.

MILL HALL — There are no balls, no helmets, no bats. Youth in Clinton County are taking their shot at sporting success with shotguns.

2022 marked Central Mountain High School’s second year participating in the USA High School Clay Target League and local athletes have come out with a bang.

The spring season saw an 80% increase to the team roster with 25 registered students.

The program has been well received by the students, parents, and community. The purpose of the Pennsylvania State High School Clay Target League is to attract students to participate in shooting sports while creating friendly competition among high schools throughout Pennsylvania. CMHS is among 44 schools in PA whose school boards have approved the program.

As with any sport, safety is the team’s first concern. In fact, all athletes must complete mandatory hunter education prior to being able to participate in the league.

PHOTO PROVIDED Emery Gunsallus is pictured with coaches Steve Heverly and Rob Tourney.

In addition, coaches look for opportunities to teach kids life skills such as concentration, attention skills, self-control, self-discipline, emotional control, goal setting, sportsmanship, and the rewards of hard work.

“The hard work of our team was evident with the awards that were received during our conference season, as well as at State and National Tournaments,” a release from the team said. “The CMHS 5-Stand team finished in first place out of 17 teams during the season conference competition in a National Bracket. The Trap and Skeet team took second place honors.”

The trap team attended the PA High School State tournament in Elysburg in June and finished in 11th place out of 29 schools participating. Two athletes performed exceptionally well.

Out of 100 birds, Jacob Leiter hit 97 of his targets and Wyatt Corman hit 98. Even with these high scores, neither Wyatt nor Jake placed on the podium. First, second, and third place hit 99 targets, each only missing one target.

CMHS’s 5-stand team took second place during tournament, shooting with Collin Ankney and Benjamin Haffley tying for second place in the Novice division.

PHOTO PROVIDED Danica Kelly is razor focused during a trap shoot.

Evan Miller finished in second place in the JV division, and Kara Stover finished in first place in the female varsity division.

The schools Skeet team also took home fourth place during tournament shooting with Chris Engel earning first place in the Novice division; Maggie Allen earning second place in the female Novice division; and Kara Stover earning third place in the Varsity female division.

Competitive shooting comes with a hefty price tag. Thankfully, there are a number of businesses, organizations, and community members dedicated to helping youth and their families offset some of the expenses.

PHOTO PROVIDED Members of Central Mountain High School’s clay target team and coaches pose for a photo outside of Europtics, the business that sponsored the team this year and purchased its uniforms.

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