Local teens shoot for Junior Nationals - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Local teens shoot for Junior Nationals

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June 18, 2005

Hartsfield- It's the only facility like it in the southeastern United States. Recently, members of the South Georgia Youth Shooting Club put the finishing touches on the Bridge Creek Clays newest training facility, International Trap Shooting. The group held their first Georgia Alabama Junior State Olympics Saturday, a qualifier for the Nationals in Colorado.

Hitting a flying target going 100 miles per hour at a possible nine different angels is no easy task.

"The more you practice the better you get, it takes dedication," said Abel Eubanks of Moultrie. That's why these competitors from 12 to 21 spend most of their time practicing. "This is my life pretty much, working and shooting and going to school," said Eubanks.

"It's a lot of hard work and a lot of training and you just practice four or five rounds a day," said Jay Wingate of Hartsfield.

These teens have their eye on the target, a possible chance at the Olympics some day. "That's the main goal to reach the Olympics or get on the USA team and travel overseas," said Wingate.

If they qualify today for Junior Nationals, these teens will go gun to gun with Olympic athletes and the possibility of a shot at the USA National team.

"A lot of pressure, when you're shooting next to an Olympian, I mean he's right next to you, shooting," said Eubanks.

"You have to be mentally prepared every time you call pull," said Wingate.

"You've got to see the direction of the target and go to it," said Wingate

"It's possible you got to always tell yourself that," said Eubanks.

"When you miss it on the first shot, you're kind of thinking about it then," said Wingate.

"That's one of the things that you don't want to do, you think too much, you'll miss," said Eubanks.

The International Trap facility with 15 machines will put the team closer to hitting their mark. "Instead of using makeshift practice facilities, now we've got the real deal, it's the same thing as everywhere we go," said Eubanks.

"This is something that we have dreamed of for years and it finally has become a reality. The kids are shooting seven days a week. They get here sometimes at seven thirty in the morning and we run them home at eight o'clock at night," said Gloria Simpson, South Georgia Youth Shooting Club.

All the long hours of practice are worth it when that first shot hits its mark every time.

For the Junior State Olympics, competitors shot four rounds of 25 targets. In order to qualify for Junior Nationals, competitors had to hit at least 65 of the 100 targets.

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