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BA's Osborne one of America's best shooters

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BA's Osborne one of America's best shooters


Football, basketball, baseball and trap shooting?
    Shooting sports certainly doesn’t fall within the normal constructs of what we think of as high school sports, but many high schools around the country have shooting teams who compete in competitions sanctioned by their respective high school leagues. Especially among rural schools, clay pigeon shooting has become increasingly popular for kids who grew up hunting.
    While the sport can go as high as the Olympics (nearly 100 countries participated in shooting sports at the 2016 Olympics), the body which governs the high school-age shooters is the amateur trapshooting association. For kids who want to shoot outside of school, they compete in the ATA national circuit on the juniors level to compete for trophies and All-American points in hopes of being an ATA All-American.
    Why bring all of this up on a whim? It just so happens the 7th ranked juniors shooter in the country shoots his high school trap in Bulloch County. JT Osborne, a Metter native who will begin the 11th grade this fall, is currently in Sparta, Ill. competing in the World Championships. He’s skipping his first week of school just so he can claim points in hopes of being named a first team All-American by the ATA.
    “This is my third year traveling — I’ve gone to New York, Arizona and Texas,” Osborne said. “It’s a cool experience where you get to meet a lot of great people.”
    Osborne got into competitive shooting when he was in sixth grade, coinciding with BA starting up their team in 2012. It wasn’t until 2015 when Osborne hit the road to compete in national events. Osborne’s event, trapshooting, is one of the three components of basic clay shooting, with the others two being skeet and sporting clays — skeet being the most well-known of the three.
    Trapshooting sees the shooter stand in front of a clay pigeon launcher as the targets are launched out and away from the shooter as opposed to skeet where the targets travel across the face of the shooter. Every trapshooting event has three parts: singles doubles and handicap. Each event requires the shooter to shoot at 100 clays and in order to be scored the best in the handicap round shooters must hit at least 96 of their 100 clays in the first two rounds.
    “Doubles is by far my best event,” Osborne said. “Singles I’ve been a little behind on this year, but it’s nothing to get too upset over. I’ve been able to make up for it in handicap where I shoot from 27 yards back.”
    Osborne’s shooting career really took off when he met coach Noel Salvanero in Atlanta. Now Osborne looks all but destined to continue his shooting career in college where he hopes to major in business wherever he chooses.
    “I’ve been approached by a couple of schools so far,” Osborne said. “Winning a national title in San Antonio where the college championships are held I think would be the coolest thing.”
    Now shooting at events all year, it’s easy to see how popping 300 clays a day in the same fashion for days on end could get very monotonous. Just like a teenager would feel the grind of AAU swimming, tennis or basketball — shooting sports requires the same demanding amount of travel and sacrifice.
    Osborne has had the thought of “burning-out” creep in the back of his mind, but never to the point where the idea of quitting actually scared him. But for most young athletes, it’s the almost addictive drive of perfection which keeps kids like Osborne grinding.
    “Doing the same thing over and over again can get to you for sure,” Osborne said. “But it’s the thrill of possibly being perfect that keeps me going.”
    At the time of this article printing, Osborne predicts he can shoot his way back into the top five with a good round Wednesday night. If he can do that, he’ll be a first team All-American — topping his previous mark of being a second team All-American last year.

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