In 1st Season, Shooting Team On Target

Stratford’s newest sports team is getting started with a bang.

Sometimes two bangs at once.

Sometimes one followed by another.

The shots are all part of the game for the Shooting Sports Team, which is competing in the GISA’s first year of Skeet and Sporting Clays competition.

The team, which currently has 15 students on its roster, has placed in the top six in each of its first three meets. Stratford will host their second home meet on Saturday, Oct. 26, at  Ocmulgee River Gun Club.

“This season is the first year the GISA has sanctioned the shooting sports program and so far all involved from the students, coaches, parents, volunteers, and the community have been extremely supportive of the program,” Coach Ben Puckett said.

Although a couple of the members have shot competitively before, the format of the meets are new to most of the team.

The shooting competitions consist of two types of contests – sporting clays and skeet – within one meet.

During the sporting clays competition, shooters from different schools compete in pairs.image-1

“You go around a course in the woods, and there’s two throwers at each station. You have a report pair or a true pair: true pair, they throw the two clays at the same time; a report pair is where they throw one, you shoot and they hear the shot and they throw the next one,” said freshman Davis Jones, one of the team’s experienced competition shooters.

Skeet is more of an individual event.

There are eight stations, Jones explained, and at each station there is a low house and a high house. At the low house, the thrower is level with the field and located on the left. The high house is elevated and on the right.

“At one, two, six, and seven you shoot two singles and then a double and there’s a low house and a high house. Then the rest of the stations you shoot a single one from each house. Then on eight you shoot one from high house and low house,” Jones said.

image-2After the team’s first practice in August, they began to practice in groups based on experience. While there are many experienced shooters, it is not a requirement for the team.

Their coach is most concerned with responsibility.

“It requires a very high level of responsibility to handle a shotgun and to ensure it is used in the sport in a safe and controlled manner.  Individual, team and spectator safety depends on that responsibility of handling the gun properly.  It is very gratifying to be able to teach and trust students who may be 14-18 years old with a shotgun, knowing they have reached a level of maturity that allows them to able to participate in this out of the ordinary varsity sport,” Puckett said.