Brookwood School’s Clay Target Team had a strong showing at the State GISA Clay Target Championship held last week at Forest City Gun Club in Savannah, Georgia. This historic gun club hosted over 600 athletes from 36 independent schools across the state. The Brookwood team had 13 Varsity members and 6 Middle School shooters qualified. The format of the tournament for Varsity was 100 skeet, 100 trap, and 100 sporting clay targets, and the middle school format included 50 skeet, 50 trap, and 100 sporting clay targets.
The varsity team was led by its top overall scorer junior Will Bryant with 253 targets total, followed by sophomore Ava Cauley and freshman Max Powers with 232 targets each, then sophomore Parker Lee with 220 targets, and senior Will Tinney with 209 targets total. Bryant’s score included a 90 out of 100 in skeet. Cauley and Bryant tied in trap with 89 targets each, which was the 9th highest trap score of the entire match.
Cauley medaled individually in all 3 disciplines. She was 3rd female overall, 3rd female in trap, 3rd female in sporting clays, and 4th female in skeet. This performance included a perfect round of trap, shooting 28 straight, a feat only repeated a few teams by any athlete at the match.
The middle school team was led by its top 3 scorers Clark Carter and Will Kadel with 124 targets each and Pearson Taylor with 88 targets.
This program has exploded in popularity since it was first recognized as a sport by the GISA several years ago. It is now one of the most participated sports in the independent school forum. This growth is timed well with the opening of the Ranges at Oakfield. Many of these local athletes can be seen practicing there on weekends and afternoons.
Further, the introduction to the sport at the high school level has already begun to lead to higher levels of competition for our local athletes. Both Will Bryant and Ava Cauley qualified for the Junior Olympics last year, a national event hosted each summer by USA Shooting at the Olympic Training Facility in Colorado Springs. Winners at this event become members of the Olympic shooting development team. Unfortunately, the event was canceled because of the pandemic but both intend to pursue a qualifying spot again this year. Cauley will be defending her title as the 2020 Georgia State Olympic Trap women’s champion, and Bryant will be competing in Olympic Skeet.
The Brookwood’s team is led by coach Mike Simpson, the founder of South Georgia Youth Shooting Sports in Hartsfield, Georgia. Over his decades of coaching experience, he has trained several youth shooters to the World Cup and professional level. Coach Simpson stated, “My reward as their Coach is to watch them grow and mature into not only champions but into tomorrow's leaders. I embrace the future of this young group of athletes, and I hope to continue to see them succeed in their quest for excellence.”