5 from Page 4-H Shooting Club qualify for nationals
Sixteen archers and marksmen from the Page 4-H Shooting Sports Club participated in the Arizona State Shooting Sports Championships in Casa Grande, Arizona, from Feb. 24 to 26, with five of them qualifying to compete in the National Championships in Nebraska this summer.
The event drew more than 100 participants from all over the state, competing in three age groups: Junior (age 8-10), Intermediate (11-13) and Senior (14-18).
Members of the Page 4-H Shooting Sports Club placed at or near the top of the two main events they participated in: Archery and Small-Bore Rifle.
In Junior Archery, Eden Arnoff placed second, while in Intermediate Archery, Karcyn Mangum earned the State Champion title, Trace Bennett finished third and Joshua Allen placed fifth.
In Senior Archery, Olivia Baughman placed third, Maximus Nez and Kendyl Bennett tied for seventh and Jamen McNutt came in eighth, followed by Mallori Taylor in 10th, Emma Baughman in 15th, Triniti Taylor in 16th and Aliecia Allen in 19th.
Amber Mcnutt finished fifth in Junior Small-Bore Rifle, while in Intermediate Small-Bore Rifle, Trace Bennett took second and Shane Mcnutt third.
In Senior Small-Bore Rifle, Triniti Taylor placed fourth, Jamen Mcnutt and Morgan Mock tied for seventh, and Mallori Taylor finished eight.
Only those competing in the Senior age group are able to move on to the 4-H National Championships, which will be held in Grande Island, Nebraska, this summer.
This year, five competitors from Page qualified, up from three last year: Olivia Baughman in archery and Triniti Taylor in small-bore rifle were automatic qualifiers, while Page will also be able to send three more marksmen to complete a four-person small-bore rifle team.
Making the nationals team is considered a big honor, as 38 of the 50 states send four youth in each shooting sports discipline to compete individually and as teams to crown the best in the nation.
Over the past four years, the Page 4-H Club has been developing a successful shooting sports program involving archery and small-bore rifle marksmanship.
The purpose of the 4-H Shooting Sports Program is to promote positive youth development through the safe and responsible use of archery equipment and firearms. Education is the foundation of the program, and 4-H Shooting Sports strives to integrate education, recreational and competitive program elements by working with families to develop a passion for the sporting traditions of archery and marksmanship.
The most visible aspect of the shooting sports program – but not the most important – is the element of competition, which allows youth to exhibit their skills, develop goals and engage in a social environment where they can interact with other youth and caring adults.
According to Kip Bennett, the success of Page’s program hinges on several aspects.
“First, we have amazing kids that come from great families that bring these kids out to practice in the heat of the summer and the cold of the winter,” he said. “They are all very determined and getting better with every practice.”
Second, the club has some of the best certified shooting sports coaches in the state. In addition to Bennett, they include George Wertz, Jerald Mock, Mathew Tenpenny and Mike Mangum.
“Lastly, we have the full support from the Page Gun Club, which allows us the use of the facilities,” Bennett said. “Without the use of the Page Gun Club facilities, we would never have been able to grow into the program that we have become today, with over 35 Page youth actively involved.”
Bennett added that in addition to training this year’s national qualifiers, the club will shift focus toward further educating and developing new club members so they can work toward participating at next year’s state championship.
“One last ‘thank you’ needs to go out to the Page community, who always shows up big to any and all fundraisers that 4-H is involved in,” Bennett said. “Without the support of a community such as ours, we would never be able to grow into one of the largest clubs in the state.”