Several weeks ago, the Amador County Health Department gave the A&A Shooters permission to resume trap practice after two months of staying home. Most of the team members and families were anxious to get back to the game. There were some modifications made to the practice routine, including sterilizing shared equipment and keeping a list of those attending. Practices were enhanced by throwing more targets at each session in an attempt to make up for lost time in order to prepare for the Open Invitational Youth Trap Shoot, which was held on Saturday, June 13 at Kingsburg Gun Club.
There were 25 athletes from the A&A Shooters team that made the trek to Kingsburg to compete in the annual event along with other youth teams from throughout California. This was a 200 target, one-day competition and the weather could not have been better. There was abundant sunshine, a moderate breeze and cool temperatures for this time of year.
The top Varsity A&A squad was led by Amador High School junior Mason Andelin, who had the highest score for the team by shooting a pair of 96s for a total of 192. He was followed by seniors in their last competition as A&A Shooters, Adeline Nordahl – 96, 93 for a 189 – and Angelika Gullette with a 97, 86 for a 193. Collin Holleran and Chet Castoe finished out the squad and both had identical scores of 89 and 91 for totals of 180. The squad’s combined individual scores earned them the runner-up Varsity squad award, with a squad from Kingsburg Trap Club winning the championship. Other varsity shooters for A&A were Nathan Wiebe 178; Tonya Chronis 170, including her first 25 straight; Zachary Ferro 164; Michael Martinez 161; Kaitlyn Warren 157; and J’Cie Garrett 143.
The Junior Varsity squad for A&A was led by an Intermediate Advanced shooter, Aidan Hammond, who was bumped up to fill the squad. Aidan broke a 90, 91 for a 181; Andrew Warren 165; Logan Manner 157; Josh Gower 156; and Rayce Reeves 153. Another Intermediate Advanced shooter, Jacob Bennion, joined his younger brother, Bryson, a first-year shooter on another squad with two other first-year shooters, Bryce Barton and Ajay Jarrett. Jacob broke great scores of 89 and 91 for a 180; Bryson shot a pair of 82s for a 164; Jarrett smashed 148 of his targets; and Barton hit more than half for a 106.
There was a special treat this year for the A&A spectators. This was the first time since the A&A team was created in 2002 that they fielded a squad of five collegiate shooters. These alumni of the A&A Shooters got together to compete in the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) Collegiate division. At post one was Justin Boitano, 2016 graduate of A&A and a recent graduate of Arizona State University; post two was Humera Ali, a 2018 graduate of A&A attending Delta Junior College; post three was Shad Nordahl, a 2017 graduate of A&A at Sacramento City College; post four was Lane Chronis 2014 graduate of A&A currently attending Brigham Young University; and post five was Aeriel Skinner, 2013 graduate of A&A, a 2017 graduate of University of Arizona and currently enrolled at Sierra College.
For some, it had been a while since they had competed in American Trap though both Boitano and Skinner had competed on collegiate teams at their respective schools. Boitano was hoping to beat the National Championship squad score for A&A, which was achieved at the 2010 SCTP National Championships in Sparta, Illinois. They didn’t beat that particular score (985 of 1000), but they did beat all other collegiate squads in Kingsburg and took home the gold in their division.
Leading the Collegiate squad was 2019 International Trap World Champion and 2020 USA Olympic trial finalist, Aeriel Skinner, who lost one target on her first trap then ran 150 straight before losing another to finish with a 198, beating out another woman collegiate competitor from Santa Ynez by one target for top Collegiate shooter. Following Skinner in the individual scoring was squad mate Humera Ali, who broke 98 and 94 for a 192; Nordahl shot scores of 97, 93 for 190; Chronis had a 92, 93 for 185; and Boitano a 174.
This is the end of the COVID-19 season for A&A … one for the record books for sure!