May 5, 2021
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
JACKSONVILLE – Harrisburg Hornet Trap Team’s Squad No. 2 was about as close to perfection Saturday as any team has ever been in Arkansas Youth Shooting Sports Program regional tournament play. Two Harrisburg shooters, Gilbert Palmer and Luke Clayton, had perfect 50-for-50 sessions, and the five-person team only missed four shots total in compiling 246 points and running away with the East Region senior division at the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation Jacksonville Shooting Sports Complex.
Along with Palmer and Clayton, Cole Cureton of Jonesboro Westside and Jansen Jacobs of Little Rock’s Baptist Preparatory School also hit all 50 traps to qualify for the Champion of Champions shootoff, which will be contested immediately following the senior state tournament Saturday, June 5. Nine other shooters missed just one trap out of 50, falling just shy of qualifying for the Champion of Champions round.
Beautiful, sunny weather greeted both the East Regional junior competitors Friday and the senior division the next day in the East Regional, though a 12-mph wind from out of the southeast picked up about 10 a.m. Saturday and had a noticeable effect on accuracy, according to some of the coaches on hand.
Westside Trap Team, a perennial contender for the East Region and the state championship, saw its White squad finish in second place, winning the card-off with a better individual scorer over third-place Jacksonville Mallards after both squads totaled 237 points. Westside qualified three of its teams for the 64-team, single-elimination State Tournament; Cabot Panthers Trap qualified two teams.
These five teams and 11 other finishers advance to bracket, head-to-head competition of the State Tournament here June 5, with Harrisburg earning a top seed as region champ. The East Region drew 90 teams and 391 shooters to Saturday’s action.
The East Region’s junior division began the AYSSP tournament Friday with Corning’s Trap Team, led by Seth Smith’s perfect 25 of 25 shooting, winning the region with 110 points, just 3 traps more than runner-up Harrisburg. Des Arc Eagles Master Blasters were third, hitting 104 traps.
Cade Verwyvelt of the Little Rock Catholic Junior High Firecracker Gold and William Mahan of Harrisburg Squad 1 also totaled a perfect 25-for-25 shooting performance and, like Seth Smith, advanced to the Junior Champion of Champions shoot-off, to be held in conjunction with the AYSSP Junior State Tournament on Friday, June 4.
Regional action for juniors (Friday) and seniors (Saturday) continues here for the next three weekends beginning with the North Region on May 7-8, followed by the West and South.
To view the team and individual results, and to follow along with real-time results each weekend for regionals and the State Tournament, visit https://apps.agfc.com/ayssp.