“We’ve had a lot of graduates, so I have a team that is really made up of freshmen,” said coach Alan Taylor. “A lot of them, it’s their first time shooting on clay. Some of them did, but they learn quite quickly and they are very committed and want to do well.
Some, like freshman Kaden Bryant, had played shotgun sports before. While Bryant is new to the squad, Taylor said he made an impact straight away, achieving a perfect 100 in the NCTA’s first meeting at the University of Midland.
Others, like Mazza, are new to the sport, but not to shooting. Mazza said there were no skeet shooting teams near him growing up, so he started rifle hunting. He said he liked the thrill.
“This is my first year of shooting competition,” said Mazza. “I’ve never toured competitively, but I’ve been shooting since I was five.
Although Mitchell has taken on a leadership role this year, he said his first year was spent trying to show his teammates what he brought to the table. This year it’s all about helping new shooters get used to being a part of the team.
“I didn’t shoot the biggest one, but I was still there with everyone,” Mitchell said. “Me being a sophomore and also being the only one (back), the coach didn’t want anyone new to be president… he had a pretty good idea that I was going to be president. “