URBANA, Ill. – Over 90 Illinois youth gathered at statewide competitions this fall to exhibit their skill mastery in shooting sports. In addition to skill levels, the competitions focus on building teamwork abilities, camaraderie, and of course fun.
“I know at first it appears odd to have competitions at the start of the program year, but these teens have been mastering their skills for a long time,” says Curt Sinclair, University of Illinois Extension 4-H shooting sports state coordinator. “This system gives us a chance to choose our National 4-H teams now as they need to be prepared to shoot against the best of the best from other states in June.”
Youth were excited to be back in person after a year of virtual competition. “It was great to finally be back to the state shoot in person,” says Derek Sample of Franklin County, this year’s state shotgun champion. “I loved getting the chance to catch up with some old friends and make some new ones at the same time. I could not have asked for a better shoot to be my last with this program.”
While numbers were a little lower than they have been in the past, the spirit and skill level of the competitors remained mighty.
“There is no denying the pandemic has reduced the amount of participants that were able to meet and practice with their 4-H clubs” says Sinclair. “However, the youth that did stick to it have honed their skills to a level I’ve not seen before.”
“It was clear that the skill level present was equal to if not greater than it had been before,” echoes Derek. “I definitely looking forward to seeing how much the program grows in the future.”
Top finishers in each discipline will begin training for competition at the June National 4-H Shooting Sports competition.
Top finishers in Small Bore Rifle include: Gloria Bremer, Madison County, first; Braden May, Massac County, second; Benaiah Bremer, Madison County, third.
Top finishers in Air Pistol include: Maurice Quiram, McLean County, first; Collin Haney, Woodford County, second; Brandon Wood, McLean County, third.
Top finishers in Air Rifle include: Morgan Drosz, DeWitt County, first; Rebecca Perkins, McHenry County, second; Page Martin, McLean County, third.
In Small Bore Pistol, the top places went to: Maurice Quiram, McLean County, first; Morgan Drozs, DeWitt County, second; Justin Pierard, McLean County, third.
Top finishers in Shotgun include: Derek Sample, Franklin County, first; Zachary Skurat, Franklin County, second; JB Bremer, Madison County, third. Top scores by county include: Franklin County, first; Madison County, second; Fulton County, third.
In Compound Archery, the top places went to: Jacob Nusz, Stark County, first; Alexa Salverson, Peoria County, second; Ian Sundberg, LaSalle County, third. Top scores by county include: LaSalle County, first; Montgomery County, second; Stark County, third.
In Recurve Archery, the top places went to: Ben Snider, Mason County, first; Eve Snider, Mason County, second; Michelle Wang, Jackson County, third. Top scores by county include: McHenry County, first; Mason County, second; Jackson County, third.
To learn more about Shooting Sports programming with Illinois 4-H, please visit the Illinois 4-H Shooting Sports website.
ABOUT ILLINOIS 4-H: Illinois 4-H is the flagship youth development program of University of Illinois Extension and administered through the College of Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences. 4-H grows true leaders, youth who are empowered for life today and prepared for a career tomorrow. The hands-on approach in 4-H gives young people guidance, tools, and encouragement, and then puts them in the driver’s seat to make great things happen. Independent research confirms the unparalleled impact of the 4-H experience, demonstrating that young people are four times more likely to contribute to their communities; two times more likely to make healthier choices; two times more likely to be civically active; and two times more likely to participate in STEM programs.
ABOUT EXTENSION: Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities.