Lakeview Academy freshman Samantha “Sam” Simonton won the Georgia Independent Schools Association State Ladies General Division Clay Target Championship recently.
More than 175 participants ranging from eighth- to 12th-grade competed in GISA’s inaugural state competition for clay target sports Dec. 6 and 7 at Forest City Gun Club in Savannah. During the state meet, competitors shot 100 trap targets, 100 skeet targets and 100 sporting clay targets.
Simonton scored a 224 out of a possible 300 targets, totaling 85 in skeet, 81 trap and 58 in sporting clays.
“You can’t ask for a better student to coach than Sam Simonton,” Lakeview clay target team coach Steve Chester said. “What an honor it was to have Sam compete in Savannah and win the state championship for Lakeview. I’m looking forward to having her compete for us for three more years and see what other achievements this team can do.”
While this was the first year for the sport competition, the atmosphere was friendly, Simonton said.
“You have to be focused in this sport, but you also have to be calm and loose,” she said. “You have to tune out everything around you.”
Simonton punched her ticket to the state competition by finishing second in ladies events at the Nov. 16 contest at Old Hudson Bay Plantation in Sparta and the Nov. 23 contest in Savannah at the Forest City Gun Club with her combined scores in skeet and sporting.
“Our team has six student athletes participating in this program with the support of Cherokee Gun Club in Gainesville,” Chester said. “Having access to a professional shooting venue and assistance from several of their members was significant to our program getting off to a smooth start.”
The Scholastic Clay Target Program exists to introduce school-age youth to the shooting sports — clay targets, skeet and trap — and facilitate their continued involvement by providing opportunities to safely participate and compete in a team-based sport led by trained adult coaches focused on enhancing the personal growth and development of their athletes. Students must have passed hunter education and be in good standing in their respective school to participate. More than 20 schools participated in the sport this season with more than 230 certified student athletes.