We want to thank each and every person, business, sponsor, etc for all the support we received during our first season. Each one of you made it possible for all these kids to have a fun year. Please enjoy the article with our season recap and thank you again for your support!
A group of 19 kids from Ellijay, Jasper, and Canton came together in the last ten months to accomplish some extremely noteworthy achievements. The team started out as four kids one September weekend, having never competed at any level with any firearms. For some this was the first time they had even picked up or shot a gun of any type. As the team grew through word of mouth and they practiced each month, it was evident they were really retaining the fundamentals being taught and continually bettering their scores.
The team was invited to attend the Alabama State Match held 29 – 30 June near Birmingham. Eight of our athletes committed to attend that match, which was also attended by more experienced teams from Alabama and Tennessee. This was our second state level match of the season and the final tune-up before heading to the National Championships.
The results were remarkable, in the Intermediate Division we placed First in Rimfire Pistol, Rimfire Iron Rifle, Rimfire Optic Rifle, Pistol Caliber Carbine, and 1911 pistol. In the Open Division we placed First in Centerfire Pistol and 1911 pistol, and Third in Rimfire Iron rifle, Rimfire Optic Rifle, and Pistol Caliber Carbine.
Finally we wrapped up the 10 month journey with a trip to the SASP National Championships held at the Cardinal Shooting Center in Marengo, Ohio from 13 – 20 July. Against all odds and reasonable expectations the team took 14 athletes to Nationals with five of them representing Georgia on the All-State Team: Rachel Ballew in Pistol Caliber Carbine, Noah West in Rimfire Pistol, Harley Barthelmess in Rimfire Pistol and Rifle, Jack Poulos in Centerfire Pistol and Rifle, and William Grubb in Centerfire Pistol.
We cautioned them to not expect much, to not even expect to place let alone medal. There were 65 teams from 20 states on hand for the largest action shooting match in history with us being one of the newest teams. The team went out and did their best, most of them turning in their best times of the season and in the end it all paid off.
A squad of four middle schoolers, 7th and 8th graders, Kristopher Ballew, Zachary Dutton, Aidan Seargeant, and Breton Seargeant maintained their composure despite the 115 degree heat index and completed the competition solidly. They brought home a third place finish in the Intermediate Division 1911 discipline. Rachel, 10th grader, also remained strong and earned an individual 2nd place in the Senior/Junior Varsity Female division for centerfire pistol. Aidan Seargeant was also recognized at Nationals for making the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation All Scholastic Team by shooting under 75 seconds in rifle and maintaining at least a 3.0 GPA.
Other notable results were as follows: Harley placed 6th in the intermediate division in Pistol Caliber Carbine and 1911. Noah placed 18th in the intermediate division in 1911. Aaron Walker placed 24th in the Intermediate Division in Pistol Caliber Carbine. Julien Withrow placed 15th in the Senior/JV Division in iron rifle and 26th in 1911. Kenneth Withrow placed 23rd in iron rifle. Noel Crews placed 27th in 1911. Jacob placed 27th in centerfire pistol. William G. placed 22nd in the Senior/JV Division in centerfire pistol. Jack P. placed 25th in the Senior/JV Division centerfire pistol. Harley Barthelmess also represented our team on the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) events and he garnered 27th place in the Top Gun Competition which encompasses rifle, pistol, and shotgun events.
During the first season most of our fundraising efforts went towards team firearms. We currently have the following available for all team members to use during competitions, rimfire pistols, centerfire pistols, rimfire rifles iron sights, rimfire rifles optic sights, pistol caliber carbines with iron and optic sights and 1911s.
During our second season our focus will be on getting a full set of the appropriate steel needed to set up all seven stages. While only 4 stages are used in a match there are seven different configurations that we need to be proficient at. At this time we are only able to set up 4 of the stages and we are very limited in our ability to adapt to the alternate stages.
If you would like to sponsor our team for this next season or donate to our steel campaign please see our website www.mountaintownmarksmen.com
Thanks again to all of our sponsors with whom we would not have been able to accomplish everything we did in our first season!