The Mid Carolina Youth Shooting team won the first ever Governor's Cup Saturday March 3 at the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Palmetto Shooting Complex in Edgefield.
The Governor's Cup is awarded by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources to the team with the highest cumulative score in the Skeet Open, Trap Open and Sporting Clays Open tournaments. The tournaments are held as part of the SCDNR’s Scholastic Clay Target Sports program, which promotes competitive clay target shooting and education. The events this year ranged from 400 to 600 shooters each.
The top three scores from each team count in the race for the cup. Mid Carolina had five different shooters contribute to the team's winning score. The Governor's Cup represents the state’s best team in all three clay target disciplines.
Mid Carolina led the race from start to finish, starting with the 50 target skeet event in December.
Gracie Woelffer of Fort Mill (score 50 of 50), Madison Sharpe of North (score 49 of 50), and Rich McFee of Latta (48 of 50) posted the top skeet score of 147 out of 150 targets. Gracie scored a perfect 50 -- the first ever at a nDNR clay target event.
The team continued to lead after the 50 target trap event in January. Jacob Todd of Irmo posted a team-best 45 with Madison and Gracie again contributing top scores (44 and 43 respectively) to keep the team ahead of the team from Belton.
Entering the March 3 100-target sporting clay event, Mid Carolina was leading Belton by four targets. With more than 600 kids competing, Mid Carolina continued the run for the cup by again putting up the best team score.
Connor Mills of Lexington led the team with a 97, while Madison Sharpe and Rich McFee again contributed to the team score with their 91s.
Mid Carolina, with a cumulative score of 558, won by 28 targets -- beating Live Oaks, who rose from sixth place to second in the standings and posted a score of 530.
The Mid Carolina Senior Varsity squad of Connor, Cody Carroll of Walterboro and Jacob took third place.
Madison, Tangie McFee of Latta and Gracie took second place in the Senior Ladies Division. Madison was tied for HOA and finished runner-up after the tie was settled by station scores.
Mid Carolina’s middle school shooters took third in the 50 target sporting clays event. Carter Hinson of Columbia shot 49 of 50 targets to win High Overall (HOA). He also won a shotgun and Ipad as the HOA shooter for the event. The middle school team of Carter, Caden Bartlett of Eastover and Wyatt Peay fo Bamberg finished third.
In addition to the trophies, high school seniors also brought home $4,750 in college scholarships. Connor Mills was the top senior and won a $2,000 scholarship from DNR and another $750 from the S.C. Sporting Clays Association. Tangie McFee and Gracie Woelffer each won $1,000 scholarships.
Coach Bernie Till said, “I could not be more proud of this team of exceptional young people. Not only are they at the top in clay target competition but they are also fine examples of sportsmanship. One of my proudest moments this season is our Senior Ladies squad winning the first-ever Sportsmanship Award from SCDNR.
“In the spirit of maintaining the highest integrity in competition, they made a profound statement by ensuring a competitor got a fair chance at a pair of targets. By doing so, they set the example for hundreds of other young shooters and truly showed what our program is all about - building young men and women of character. I am truly honored to be a part of this team and these outstanding young people.”
Anyone interested in learning more about the Mid Carolina Gun Club and its youth shooting program can visit the club website at http://www.midcarolinagunclub.com/