Gryphon trap team shoots for victory

What are they aiming for?


Photo: Mrs. Jensen

Junior Karina Jensen shoots her target. She placed second female in the Shelby County shooting tournament in January of this year.

Aiming to try something new? Perhaps trying a different sport would be refreshing.

The St. George’s trap shooting team, coached by Mrs. Leah Allison and assisted by Mrs. Lauri Jensen, Mr. Lee Allison, Mr. Chuck Jensen and Mr. Tom Link, is not a typical sport that one can find at every school.

“Trap shooting is the sport of shooting at clay pigeons released from a spring trap,” Mrs. Allison said. “In trap shooting, the targets are launched from a single ‘house’ or machine, generally away from the shooter.”

The team uses both general purpose shotguns and other specialized shotguns focusing on the 12-gauge pump or semi-automatic shotguns.

Practicing at Memphis Sports Shooting Association, or MSSA, in Lakeland, Tenn., on Saturday mornings, most team members agree that the trap shooting is not a significant time commitment.

“Trap shooting does not put a huge amount of responsibility on the student, other than the trap captains,” junior Jacob Peeples said, who is a co-captain along with junior Karina Jensen.

Junior Hadley Allison described a typical practice as shooting one hundred rounds, meaning one hundred pieces of ammunition are fired. Before being able to shoot, team members have to carefully unload firearms from their cars and then discuss what that day’s practice should bring for the team. Afterwards, with safety being an utmost concern of the team, eye and ear protection are put on, and then the shooting can begin.

“We practice shooting, which includes stance, muzzle control, trigger control and shot placement,” Peeples said.

Competing once a month at MSSA, the team typically has a squad of five people shooting for varsity and another squad for junior varsity. The competitions usually begin at 8 a.m. and end by 4 p.m., shooting one hundred rounds total.

After a season of practicing and competing, the teammates described having a closer team relationship as a result, knowing more about team members’ skills and personalities because of the team’s small size.

“A smaller team means closer relationships. We all enjoy the sport, but we also enjoy the friendships and relationships we have formed with our own teammates, as well as with other shooters from other schools,” Mrs. Jensen said.

Despite the positivity that the sport brings the participants of St. George’s, some disagree with the idea of teaching teens how to operate, aim and shoot a gun at a young age.

“Our kids are drilled on gun safety from day one and learn to treat all weapons as if they are loaded,” Mrs. Allison said. “The main point of sport shooting is just that, a sport, and our kids work both their minds and their bodies. Our overall program is designed to instill character traits that include fair play, individual responsibility, and cooperation in working for a common goal that can serve them well throughout life.”