ELYSBURG - Right on target.
In back-to-back days, county shooters didn't fail to impress.
On Saturday, June 11, the Kalbfus Rod and Gun Club's "Goon Squad" earned a first place in the A.I.M. (Academics, Integrity, and Marksmanship) Graduate Class.
Photo submitted to Times Observer
Going for Gold
A collection of shooters from the four teams that competed at the SCTP State Championships in Elysburg earlier this month includes, from left, in front, the Junior Varsity division third-place team of Jacob Grove, Braden McClain, Jonathon Pollow, Erica Boutelle, and Logan Black; second row, the J.V. team of Michael McDunn, and Zach Bush; third row, the Varsity state championship team of coach Carl Black, Dalton Sipes, Ethan Black, Jamie Morton, Sawyer Dininny, and Zack Johnson, and; fourth row, the Varsity team of Evan Petruney, Kelsey Ellsworth, Billy Lord, and Nate Tenney. Missing from photo is J.V. shooters Kyle Rafalski, Brodie Turner, and Sam Lucas, and Varsity shooter Scott Saporito.
Led by Scott Saporito, who shot 75 targets straight and ended with 98 broken targets out of 100, the Goon Squad combined for 469 broken targets out of 500.
Saporito isn't new to being number one - in the Warren County Scholastic Trap League he finished this year as the top shooter. Each shooter for the Goon Squad shot at 100 targets in 25 target increments for the combined team score.
Ashley Walton, a junior from Corry, overcame a slow start with only 21 broken targets on the first trap to end with 94 broken targets. Jacob Moore, a 2011 graduate from Tidioute, shot an 89, just a few hours after his graduation ceremony.
Team captain Nate Tenney was close behind the mark that Saporito set with 98 targets with a his own total of 96 broken targets. Billy Lord rounded out the team with 92 targets. Lord will be taking his shooting talents to the Army at the end of the month.
The next day, county shooters competed at the Scholastic Clay Target Program State Championships.
Sending two Varsity, and two Junior Varsity division teams, county teams returned a state title at the Varsity level and a third-place finish in J.V.
The varsity team made up of Corry's Dalton Sipes and Jamie Morton, Eisenhower's Ethan Black and Zack Johnson, and Youngsville's Sawyer Dininny, combined for a total of 478 broken targets to earn first place. Dininny finished at 99X100.
"It's awesome to go out there and get to shoot," said Ethan Black, whose older brother Colton has previously won SCTP state and national championships, but Ethan says that success of previous team's wasn't an issue.
"We wanted to go out and do our own thing," he said.
And they did.
"The scores were very good compared to previous years," said SCTP coach Carl Black, who also coaches Eisenhower's Warren County Scholastic Trap League team. "They did fantastic, really, overall. They are all fantastic shooters."
Despite getting first place, Ethan Black says that they could have done even better.
"We could have done better. I don't know how to put it, but we were kind of nervous to shoot, but we ended up going with the flow and went out there and shot well together," he said.
The second varsity team made up of Eisenhower's Evan Petruney, Corry's Kelsey Ellsworth, and Warren's Billy Lord, Nate Tenney and Scott Saporito combined for a total of 449 broken targets out of 500.
The Junior Varsity teams were split by only five broken targets, but a total of 435 broken by Sheffield's Jacob Grove and Erica Boutelle, Youngsville's Jonathan Pollow and Braden McClain, and Eisenhower's Logan Black was enough to earn third place.
Right behind them with a total of 430 broken targets, was an all Youngsville team composed of Michael McDunn, Zach Bush, Kyle Rafalski, Brodie Turner, and Sam Lucas.
Varsity and Junior Varsity shooters/teams are separated by experience.