By Brighton McConnell
When one thinks of Brevard High School’s sports programs, he or she may not immediately think of the Hunter Safety Shooting team. But after the big success that the team has had this year, the student body ought to start giving them more thought as being one of the most successful sports programs of the year.
The Shooting Team’s season began in September, with tryouts and first practices. After months of working and improving their skills, the team went to the Western Regionals Shooting Tournament on March 16, and earned second place out of 14 schools in attendance. This in itself was a huge accomplishment, but because of their high placement, the team was able to qualify for the state competition held a month later, the first time ever in Brevard’s Shooting Team’s history.
On April 27, The Shooting Team traveled to said competition, and shot in multiple events against 33 various high schools from all across North Carolina. The event was hosted in Ellerbe, and was located at the Camp Millstone 4-H Club.
The opposing schools were described as much larger schools, with very high-maintenance guns and teams of 40 or more members. Brevard’s Shooting Team had only seven people, but still were able to have a very strong showing against steep competition. BHS placed 17th out of 33 overall.
The coach of The Shooting Team, Danny Fender, spoke with great excitement and pride when describing the events during the state competition. “It’s the first year we’ve ever made state, and it was the best time I’ve ever had [at the state competition],” he said. “To come in 17th, on our first trip down there, that’s really good!”
Fender founded the shooting team, and has coached it through its seven years of existence here at BHS. Because the team is unable to be funded by the school system, Fender and the team members work on many various projects and fundraisers to help gain money for the shooting team. This year, the projects varied from building decks and walls for different sponsors, and helping construct a building for Brevard Middle School. The team is also hoping to host a turkey shoot, where you pay for use of a gun to shoot at frozen turkey as a target.
In general, Fender said that he was very pleased and very proud of all of his shooting team athletes. “They had a lot of improvement, a general improvement in these kids learning how to shoot, and getting better [at competing].”
Overall, it has been a landmark year for the BHS Shooting Team, and though they are not heard of often, the team is hoping to be heard from even more next season.