LISBON, Ohio (WKBN) – The Beaver Local Youth Trap Team is getting ready to head off to the state tournament this weekend in Delaware, Ohio.
The team is a fairly new organization. It was started back in December 2020 by Jolene Lantz. Lantz wanted to provide a sport that anyone could take part in.
“Kids that cannot participate in a sport due to physical abilities, such as asthma, maybe physically handicapped, or someone that just doesn’t want to play a sport, this gives them an opportunity to participate in a sport,” Lantz said.
The team currently has 33 members. They range from sixth graders all the way up to recent Beaver Local 2021 graduates. Many of the members had never held a gun before joining.
“After they picked up the gun and got comfortable with it, it was very easy for them to pick it up,” Lantz added. “It’s just, you have to be comfortable on shooting. A lot of the kids, the couple times they first shot, it was scary for them, but after they caught on it was like basic instincts. They had no problems.”
Fast forward six months, and 22 of the team’s members will be competing at the Ohio state tournament on Saturday. More than three-fourths of those competing, including the team’s top-ranked shooter, had never tried trap shooting until last December.
“I picked it up and I remember the first time I came out and shot — it was super cold and snow all over the place,” said Beaver Local’s top shooter and 2021 graduate Gavyn Gamble. “I’m thinking, man, this is going to be quite the interesting sport, but I came out and got better and kept learning and kept improving. That’s all you can do.”
The team is looking forward to competing against 17 other schools at its largest tournament to date.
“I’m pretty excited because I’m the only girl going to state to represent my school,” said Beaver Local sixth grader Ericka Heaton. “I’m the youngest girl on our team, so.”
“The one thing I try to think is it’s just another shoot,” Gamble added. “I’m just going to walk up and shoot how I do every week. It is different, but in my head, it’s nothing different.”