Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Area Sports

February 27, 2014

Clay Crushers prepare for 2014 schedule

CROSSVILLE — All Cumberland County elementary and high school students interested in competing in the Tennessee Scholastic Clay Target Program (TNSCTP) on the Cumberland County Clay Crusher shooting team can still sign up for the 2014 season by calling head coach Fred Petersen at 265-0138 or 456-1334.

Team practice officially starts March 8 from 8 a.m. to noon at the Fairfield Glade Sportsman Club (FGSC) on Shorty Barnes Rd. This will be the tenth year for the team with FGSC acting as home shooting grounds.

New shooters should be accompanied by a parent as paperwork will be passed out for sign-ups. 

The SCTP is governed nationally by the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation (SSSF), a 501(c)3  non-profit educational-athletic organization.

In Tennessee, this program is under the direction of the Tennessee Wildlife Federation (TWF) and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA), with more than 2,000 student-athletes participating in three competitive shotgun sports, including trap, skeet and sporting clays.

This program provides students in grades five through 12 with the opportunity to showcase their competitive shooting skills in a safe and controlled environment with instructors monitoring their shooting. Awards are earned at the local, state and national levels. 

The TNSCTP is currently divided into three divisions.

The Rookie (R) division is for grades five and under and students at least nine years old – shooting experience does not apply.

The Intermediate division for grades six through eight has two sub-levels – the Intermediate Entry (IE) level for shooters with no SCTP shooting experience and the Intermediate Advanced (IA) level for shooters with at least one year SCTP shooting experience.

The Senior division is for grades nine through 12 and also has two sub-levels – the Junior Varsity (JV) level for shooters with no high school SCTP shooting experience and the Varsity (V) level for shooters with at least one year of high school SCTP shooting experience.

There is also a collegiate division for college students. 

In addition to the highly competitive trap teams of the past, the Clay Crushers will again field four or five skeet squads in the varsity and junior varsity divisions.

Since the inception of the TNSCTP in 2001, trap shooters have dominated the shotgun programs with roughly five times more shooters than either skeet or sporting clays. With the first class skeet shooting facilities at FGSC, coach Petersen believes his skeet squads will have a much better chance to win state awards and possible college scholarships than to continue to battle against the high-powered, nationally-ranked trap teams in Tennessee. Students can compete in both trap and/or skeet. A skeet squad consists of just three shooters.

Competitive SCTP shoots for the Clay Crushers 2014 season are as follows:

Big Springs Shoot at Christiana, TN, March 15.

Third Annual Doug Server Shoot-on-the-Mountain at FGSC April 5.

Hog Heaven Youth Shoot at White Pine, TN, April 26.

Tennessee Junior Olympics at Paris, TN, May 2-4.

TNSCTP Region III Championship at FGSC, May 31.

TNSCTP State Championship at Nashville, June 17-21.

National Junior Olympics in Colorado Springs. June 13-20.

National SCTP Championship at Sparta, Il, July 14-19. 

Based on sign-ups for the 2014 season, Petersen expects to field a full, five-person Rookie squad and two new IE squads. Last years award winning IE squads will move up to the tougher competition in the IA ranks.

The JV group will consist of just six members while the Varsity will field three squads.

Petersen believes the IA squad will contend for another state title while the Varsity squad’s depth should also place them in the title hunt. 

The skeet program will start its third year with one squad each in IA and JV and two squads in Varsity. 

Once again, the SCTP Nationals are in Sparta, IL and will be open to all shooters who want to attend. Last year 27 Clay Crushers attended this event with the IE Red squad narrowly missing the championship trophy by only six targets. 

Last year, pistol shooting was introduced as yet another competitive shooting program within the TNSCTP. When roughly 15 to 20 shooters, most of which were already trap and skeet shooters, expressed an interest in this pistol program, coach Petersen assigned assistant coach Chuck Burgess and Travis Threet to initiate this program for the 2014 season.

With pistol and ammunition costs being just a small fraction of trap and skeet costs, coach Burgess feels this program will be well attended. All shooting will be with .22 caliber guns. 

For more information on these events at the state and national level visit www.tnsctp.org or www.usashooting.org.

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