COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Hoping for a shot at the 2012 Olympics, 18 young trap and skeet shooters from 11 states yesterday wrapped up four days of intensive training and evaluation by U.S. coaches.
The 2008 Junior Olympic Development Camp was held Oct. 8-12 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Attending athletes were among the top talents this year in the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP), a national youth shooting league that produced two medalists for the U.S. in Beijing.
"SCTP alumni Vincent Hancock and Corey Cogdell won gold in men's skeet and bronze in women's trap, respectively, at the 2008 Olympics. Their medals were two of the six won by the U.S. in shooting sports. So this camp is a big deal for these young shooters and, potentially, for our country, too," said Zach Snow of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF).
NSSF selected camp attendees through an application and interview process. NSSF also sponsored camp costs along with major partnership from USA Shooting, the national governing body for Olympic shooting sports.
At the camp, athletes worked with U.S. coaches to hone skills in the international style of trap and skeet shooting. Daytime drills helped shooters fine-tune skills and helped coaches identify athletes with special aptitude as well as attitude. Evening classroom work taught goal setting, team structure and preparing physically and mentally for high-level competition.
Attendees were housed in the Olympic athlete dormitories and fed in the athlete cafeteria alongside scores of other Olympic hopefuls from many different sports.
"The kids that I've seen at this camp are outstanding. They're excellent athletes and excellent citizens," said B.J. McDaniel, assistant national shotgun coach.
Shooters attending the camp included:
Arkansas — Cord Riley, 17, Hindsville (trap).
Arizona — Adam DiCerbo, 16, Scottsdale (skeet); Nicolas DiCerbo, 13, Scottsdale (skeet); Kyle Johnson, 16, Phoenix (skeet).
California — Ashley Carroll, 14, Solvang (trap); Richard Riddle, 15, Bonsall (skeet); Wesley Scoble, 17, Oakland (trap); Tristan Woolacott, 15, Sacramento (trap).
Connecticut — Trevor Harvey, 18, New Canaan (trap).
Idaho — Shawn Cahoon, 15, Pocatello (trap).
Illinois — Brett Bachmann, 16, Highland Park (trap); Kelcey DePatis, 17, Donovan (trap).
Michigan — Nicholas Sage, 15, Saranac (skeet).
New York — Kevin Corser, 18, Holly (skeet).
Pennsylvania — Jacob Gogno, 18, Pottsville (trap).
Tennessee — Cory Smith, 15, Shelbyville (trap); Ryan Stewart, 17, Nashville (trap).
Texas — Shelby White, 15, Littlefield (trap).
Nine adult coaches from six states also attended the camp to learn advanced skills in coaching shooting sports. Invitees included:
Arizona — Scott Fritz, Mesa (skeet); Thomas Slaughter, Tempe (trap).
Arkansas — Steven Johnson, Mountainburg (trap); Chuck Woodson, Little Rock (trap).
California — Laurence Sifers, Huntington Beach (skeet).
Illinois — Brian Bachmann, Wilmette (trap); William Marquardt, Deerfield (skeet).
Tennessee — Matt Stewart, Nashville (trap).
Washington — Tom Langley, Bellingham (trap).
In 2008, the eighth year for SCTP, 9,135 youths competed and 1,562 adults volunteered as coaches and directors — both new records for the program.
McDaniel said, "In the last six or seven years, SCTP has rejuvenated shotgun sports in America. Ten years ago we were worried, wondering who would carry the flag, because there weren't many young people getting involved in our sports. Now there are SCTP teams around the country, giving us a good base of athletes to draw from for future Olympics."
NSSF founded SCTP and directs a variety of outreach programs to promote greater participation and a better understanding of shooting sports, emphasizing safe and responsible ownership of firearms. For more information, visit their Web sites, www.nssf.org and www.nssf.org/sctp.