June 2, 2023
Randy Zellers Assistant Chief of Communications
JACKSONVILLE — After five weekends of stiff competition and a grueling six-match elimination championship, the young shooters from Corning Trap Team Squad 2 came out victorious at the 2023 state championship of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Youth Shooting Sports Program held today at the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation Jacksonville Shooting Sports Complex.
Corning’s team took the final round over Jonesboro’s Westside Warriors Red Squad by a decisive five clays. Their final-round score of 120 not only was the best in the finals, it was the single highest score of any team during the entire day of competition. Ty Price and team captain Brady Russom posted perfect scores of 25 in their final round, while teammates Bryson Murray, Kate Young and Christopher Scrogin posted scores of 24, 23 and 23, respectively.
Today’s conditions were a stark contrast to much of the regional competitions, as participants were greeted with sunny skies and a whisper of a breeze throughout the day.
“If anything, it started to get hot out there, but it was great conditions for the shooters and much of the crowd brings tents and canopies to give some shade,” Jimmy Self, AGFC Youth Shooting Sports Program coordinator, said. “We expected some great competitions and great crowd support for the state championship, and we weren’t disappointed.”
The format of today’s competition also was a bit of a changeup from the regional qualifiers that brought the 64 teams of fifth- through eighth-grade students to today’s capstone event. Instead of only shooting one round of 25 clays to determine the winners, teams competed side-by-side in a bracket-style single-elimination tournament with the winner advancing to each round. By the time the competition ended, Corning had bested six of the best shooting teams in the state.
Corning posted wins against Southside Batesville, the Mount Vernon-Enola Claybusters, the Batesville Pioneer Shooting Buddies, Magnolia Red Squad and Highland before squaring off against Jonesboro Westside Red Squad in the final.
Highland Trap Team took third place in a shootoff with the Nashville Scrapper Orange squad after both teams worked their way to the semifinals but fell a few clays short.
Caney White of Nashville’s Scrapper Junior Orange was named the 2023 Junior Division Champion of Champions after successfully fending off stiff competition from Manny Walters of Rosebud’s Full Strut Squad and Addison Price of the Cross County Thunderbirds in a sudden-death shoot-off at the conclusion of today’s team competition. These three individuals had separated themselves from the crowd by tallying perfect scores of 25 during the four regional tournaments leading up to today’s competition.
The AGFC’s Youth Shooting Sports Program State Championship will continue with the senior division taking the field tomorrow, following the same single-elimination bracket format as today’s event.