On Saturday, September 19, the Jesuit Competitive Shooting Team (JCST) began their season at the 14th Annual North Texas Juniors Open, a skeet tournament in Terrell, TX. Jesuit was represented by a variety of participants from all grades. This event also marked the beginning of the JCST’s fourth season of competition. Before going into this weekend’s performance, let’s take a look at JCST before the coronavirus disrupted all the activities.
Recap of Last Season
Last year (2019-2020) was the team’s third and most successful season. Largely due to the consistent effort of head coach Madeline Maggard, the JCST observed a significant increase in turnout at both practices and tournaments, with shooters continuing to participate in a variety of disciplines including sporting clays, skeet, and trap. Last season, Coach Maggard also announced that team members who met a certain criterion, based on their attendance at practice and performance in tournaments, would be awarded a varsity letter, an opportunity that will also be available this season. In June 2020, the JCST had the privilege to travel to the National Shooting Complex in San Antonio, TX to compete in the Scholastic Clay Target Program’s State Championship. The team concluded their season with a great overall performance in the tournament.
In a round of skeet, competitors attempt to break clay discs mechanically launched through the air from two fixed stations directly across from each other. Shooters move in a semi-circle around these two towers to and attempt to hit the targets, which are moving approximately 45-50 mph, from a variety of angles. While JCST members were still knocking a little bit of the rust off their shotguns, the team managed to post some impressive scores. Conner Harrington ’22 was the team’s top shooter with a score of 82/100. Other top scorers on the team include Dillon Rupp ’22 (81/100), Drake Clark ’23 (79/100), Benton Koch ’21 (74/100), and Evan Bare ’22 (70/100).
As the team transitions into its 2020-2021 season, expectations and goals are higher than ever. Because team co-founder Matthew Freeman ’20 and several other active members graduated in the spring, more responsibility now rests in the hands of emerging team leaders. I spoke with Coach Craig Cain and Brittan Welborne ’21 about their outlook for this season.
Coach Cain, a professional shotgun instructor and member of the 2020 U.S. Helice Shooting Team, returned to Jesuit for his second year as a coach. Coach Cain commented on his experience so far and his hopes for the upcoming year: “It has been very rewarding for me to be a part of the Jesuit Shooting Team. Our progress has been outstanding, and I am looking forward to the upcoming season as I expect our hard work and dedication will pay great dividends for this team.”
Senior Brittan Welborne, one of the team’s most accomplished shooters, has been a part of the JCST since its creation, and he has become an integral aspect to the team this year. When asked what it has been like to see the team develop over the past four years, Brittan responded: “Well, one of my first goals when I came to Jesuit was to actually start some sort of shooting club. So when I heard Matthew Freeman [‘20] and Cole Harrington [‘19] were already in the process of starting one, I was ecstatic. When the team actually started, it was just a small group of sophomores and juniors and then me, the lone freshman at the very beginning. As word got out, more and more people started joining the team, so I was really glad to have people in my class on the team. As I look back at the past 3 years, I just find it wild that we went from a crazy idea to an actual team at Jesuit in that short amount of time, and I am extremely grateful for this opportunity and that we are still able to keep recruiting new members.
Additionally, Brittan has goals, both collective and individual, for this new and different year: “In reality, I am really just praying that we get to compete without anything getting canceled due to COVID-19. Like many other teams, our practices and tournaments [over the summer] were canceled for the most part, so many of us are pretty rusty right now. The team had its first competition of the year last weekend on Saturday, the 19th, and it went great, leading me to believe things are going to go wonderfully this year. And if the team can win some more trophies to fill our new trophy case, I would not be opposed at all.”
A big thank you to Coach Maggard and Cain, Brittan Welborne, the Jesuit Competitive Shooting Team, and the Terrell Rifle and Pistol Club.
Remember to stay tuned to The Roundup for Competitive Shooting Team news!