The 2020 Scholastic Clay Target Program National Championships may have had a different feel this year due to COVID-19, but that didn’t stop the Hudson Raider Clay Target Team from bringing home some well-earned hardware.
Competition began at the Cardinal Center in Marengo, Ohio, on July 9 with bunker trap and ended on July 18 with 16-yard trap. Fourteen Raider shooters traveled to the annual event this year to compete in skeet, doubles skeet, trap, doubles trap, handicap trap, sporting clays and bunker trap.
“We feel very fortunate we were able to compete in person this year,” coach Teal Persinger said. “Luckily, since shooting is a non-contact sport, it is fairly easy to social distance and all the competition is held outside.”
The event was modified this year because of COVID-19 with no awards ceremonies, parade of states or last man standing (Annie Oakley) competition.
“The SCTP did a great job making sure the safety of those involved was top priority,” Persinger said.
Eighth grader Lauren Kern stacked up the medals in the ladies intermediate advanced division, coming in third in doubles trap (158-of-200), third in handicap trap (172/200), and fifth in 16 yard trap (187/200). Kern was also fourth in bunker trap in the ladies' intermediate division.
"Since starting with us as a fifth grader, Lauren has been one of the most coachable athletes we've seen over the years,” Persinger said. “It is a joy to watch her excel and shine not only on the line while shooting, but as a leader on our team. You watch and feel her passion for the sport and that drive spills over, fueling her teammates. Lauren has an extremely bright future as a clay target competitor."
Izzy Arnett, a rookie and first year shooter, also brought home a fifth place medal in 16-yard trap.
“Considering Izzy only started shooting about five weeks ago, it is really amazing that she was able to medal at such a competitive event,” Persinger said.
The Raiders handicap trap squad consisting of Brandon Armstrong, (181/200), Brady Kern (176/200), Dan Lawton (161/200), Collin Richert (156/200) and Paul Nordeen (154/200) was awarded the second place plaque in the open division and each received a medal for their achievement.
Posting perfect, 25/25 rounds in 16 yard trap were Armstrong, Lawton, Richert, Brady Kern, Lauren Kern, and Jordan Persinger. Additionally, Lawton earned his first 50 straight trap patch. Jordan Persinger and Armstrong also shot 50 straight targets in trap during the competition and Armstrong shot perfect rounds in handicap and skeet as well.
“Nationals and the state tournaments seem to bring the best out in our kids,” Persinger said. “Several shot their top scores to date in Ohio this year.”
For example first-year shooter Mike Arnett, hit 24-of-25 in his last round of trap.
“He was really hoping to get his first 25 at nationals,” his mom, Kari Arnett, said. “We know he’ll get there. This is our kids’ first year shooting, and we couldn’t be happier with the entire leadership of the coaches, support staff and fellow team families. We feel like we have found a great lifetime sport for our children that teaches them discipline, friendship and skill all while having fun.”
Additionally, two Raiders earned spots on the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation All Scholastic Team-- Armstrong in trap, sporting clays, pistol and rifle; and Brady Kern in trap.
The All Scholastic Team recognizes student athletes in the shooting sports for their accomplishments in the classroom, in their communities and on the shooting range. Criterion for selection requires a 3.0 GPA, stringent match qualifications in each shooting discipline and two letters of recommendation.