The scholastic clay target program (SCTP) in the Cumberland County school system is starting to show the results that everyone at the Fairfield Glade Sportsman Club had hoped for when the program was brought on board in late 2004.

That was to provide both high school and elementary school students the chance to showcase their trap shooting skills not only in the SCTP but also at the next competitive level in Amateur Trapshooting Association (ATA) events. Two of the top students in this program have already shown that they are competitive at this next level.

Mark Filley Jr., a CCHS junior, and Keisha Smith, a seventh-grader at Crab Orchard Elementary each won singles events at the Sportsman Club’s second ATA event of the year on Sunday, May 21.

Filley, the son of Mark and Annette Filley of Crossville, was already a talented skeet shooter prior to joining the SCTP, but with the added competition of his fellow students and veteran club members, he has now become the club’s first ever Class AA shooter, averaging between 96.25 and 98 targets out of 100 in singles competition. (Class AAA at 98+ is the highest level achievable in ATA competition.)

Last year, Filley led the CCHS-SCTP team to both the Tennessee high school and Tennessee open championships and anchored the team to a sixth-place finish in national competition in Vandalia, OH.

He was named to the Tennessee all-state SCTP team as the fourth best shooter in the state. Mark has won numerous awards here in ATA shoots and has also won skeet shooting events at other clubs in Tennessee.

Ms. Smith, the daughter of Ricky and Peggy Smith of Crab Orchard, was already an accomplished hunter. She bagged a deer as a 10 year old, before she entered the SCTP's inception in 2004.

Shooting good scores didn’t come quickly for the sixth grader, but nobody practiced harder during the cold winter months. One thing was obvious to all club members — she truly loved this sport and loved to practice.

Keisha broke her first 25-straight in May of 2005 and has had “a lot more” since then. (Breaking 25-straight in trap is roughly equivalent to shooting in the 70s in golf.)

A month later, she tied for third with an 84 in the Tennessee state SCTP Junior Ladies competition in Nashville and was named to the 2005 Tennessee all-state SCTP team as the ninth best lady shooter in the state, which includes lady shooters throughout high school.

In April, our club hosted the First SCTP Super Shoot featuring 117 student shooters from eight teams throughout the state.

Ms. Smith stepped up to post a 90, which was far and away the best ladies score and in fact, placed her in the top 20 of all shooters.

In March, she decided to take her game up to compete at the ATA level and has already found success. There will be many more awards to come in this young ladies career. She has all the attributes to be a very high-level trap shooter.

Keisha credits her success to coach Mark Filley, her parents and to a very dedicated and disciplined practice schedule. She competes with a recently acquired Remington 1187.

In Sunday’s competition, Filley won the singles championship with his Beretta 686 shooting a near perfect 99X100. He missed the second target out and then ran 98 straight.

Ms. Smith tied Jim Ezelle and Larry Eubank with 95s for Class C.

In the first 25 target shoot-off, Eubank was eliminated with a 22 while Smith and Ezelle tied again with 24s. Smith then beat Ezelle 24 to 21 in the second shoot-off round to take the Class C trophy.

Elden Ice of Fairfield took Class D with an 87.

Carl Adkins took the Class A award back to Philadelphia, TN (near Knoxville) with a 97. Bob Curran of Crossville won Class B also with a 97.

In the handicap event, Ben McNew of Cookeville shot a personal best 96 to win the championship award from the 20-yard line. Dave Anderson of Harriman won the 19-21 yard competition with a 94 while club president Carl Wedlick posted an 88 to win over the 22-24 yard line shooters. Adkins showed that his Kreighoff KS-5 was still hot by defeating the 25-27 yard line shooters with a 92.

Mark Filley Sr. pinned a rare defeat on his son with an 82 in the doubles event.

The club’s next ATA shoot will be on July 9. Remember, you don’t need to be a “top-dog” shooter to compete in these events. Competition starts around 9 a.m. and is usually completed by 1 p.m. If you like, come out to watch the competition and then shoot a casual round or two after the event. The club has all you need to shoot and club members will be happy to help you with shooting tips and club safety procedures.

For more information, contact Pete Brennen at 456-6554.

Late news flash — Keisha Smith of Crab Orchard, TN knocked down top awards at Hog Heaven Gun Club ATA shoot in White Pine, TN on Sunday, May 28, firing personal bests of 95X100 in handicap and 98X100 in singles.

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