By Bob Fowler
CROSSVILLE—These marksmen—and women—are among the nation’s best.
The eight-member Roane State Community College Shooting Sports Team was on target for runner-up high overall national champion team, along with two national runner-up wins and a third place finish in the Scholarship Clay Target Program (SCTP) National College Championships.
“We’re very proud of the team and their accomplishments,” volunteer head coach Kenneth Carey said of the squad’s achievements in the SCTP competitions, held October 28-30 in Marengo, Ohio. “They have an excellent work ethic. Their practice and ability and skill proved to be a force nationally.”
Some 271 athletes representing teams from 16 states participated. The Raiders are in the Division 3 category—squads with 10 members or less. That division was “by far the most competitive,” Carey said, because 14 teams were involved.
Roane State’s Raiders competed against teams from the University of Alabama, Arizona State, and Florida State, among others.
The Raiders placed second nationally in trap shooting and sporting clays and captured a third place in skeet shooting.
In the competitions, clay discs are the moving targets, mechanically pitched by machines in differing paths, from crisscrossing in mid-air to skittering across the ground like rabbits.
The Roane State squad uses 12-gauge shotguns. Carey said team members brought home “four nice trophies” for their efforts.
In the “Last Competitor Standing” competition, team member Madeline Kittrell took top honors for her unerring shooting skills. As the “Last Competitor Standing,” she earned a $1,000 scholarship sponsored by the SCTP and the National Rifle Association (NRA).
During the team’s inaugural season last fall, the sharpshooting Raiders finished third in the nation overall and runner-up in trap shooting in the SCTP competition.
Carey said he grew up in the hunting industry, which led him to coaching area youth shooting teams. He said his desire to provide graduating high school shooters an opportunity to continue competitive shooting as well as earn a college degree led to a great partnership with Roane State.
“I’ve coached high school teams at local, district, regional, state, and national competitions,” Carey said. “I know where to find the athletes, and I steer them toward Roane State.”
He said four of the eight current team members wouldn’t have gone to Roane State “if we didn’t have a shooting program.”
Team members are Andrew Smith, Madeline Kittrell, Lauren Sanders, Nathan Hembree, Codey Dean, Ty McCaskey, Nathan Wattenbarger, and Carey’s son, Andy Carey. Assistant coaches are volunteers Kevin Hembree and James Wattenbarger.
Team members hail from as far away as Sale Creek near Chattanooga to White, Morgan, and Cumberland counties. Most take courses at Roane State’s Crossville campus, but some are online-only students. Other are a blend of online and in-person learners at campuses in Crossville and Harriman.
The team, which also recently won a state championship, practices eight months a year and will resume its workouts in the spring.
Carey said he intends to keep coaching the squad after his son moves on.
“I’m committed to Roane State,” he said, adding that he enjoys his coaching duties as well as watching young adults further their education. He said he has the desire to continue to bring national recognition to Roane State.
Bob Fowler is a staff writer at Roane State Community College.
This press release was submitted by Owen Driskill.
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