Lazarus, Miler & Hillel bag ATL Sporting Clays championships

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

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Zach Lazarus, Savanna Miller and Hillel Academy walked away with the big prizes on Sunday at the ATL Automotive Group Inter School Sporting Clays Challenge at the Jamaica Skeet Club in Portmore.

The shooters gathered from early for the 10:00 am opening ceremony and then went straight to their stations in the shotgun start of the premier junior sporting clays schools championship.

At the end of the 50-bird shoot, eight competitors qualified for the Super Six where the shooters with the top six scores had to take on another 18 targets from three stations. The shooters who got into the Super Six were led by David Wong with 50 (the only Sub Junior to get into the Super Six), Danzell Knight with 50 — for the first time two shooters returned a perfect score in a junior competition; Zach Lazarus with 48, defending champion Roman Tavares-Finson with 48, and Cameron Pang Sang, Matthew Josephs, Nathan Chin and Jonah Subaran who all shot 47 each.

At the end of the first station Wong and Knight led all shooters; however, Tavares-Finson and Lazarus picked off all six birds. Tavares-Finson, with another six from six birds took over the lead after the second station. The third station of the Super Six separated the shooters and resulted in a three-way tie with Tavares-Finson, Knight and Lazarus ending on the same score of 64.

This led to further shoot-off to determine the winner. At that stage Lazarus bagged six from eight targets, while Tavares-Finson and Knight bagged five each. Lazarus was now the new champion but the other two shooters had to go to another station for another shoot-off to decide on the first and second runner-up. Tavares-Finson prevailed after getting six from eight targets, while Knight got two from eight.

Lazarus was very happy with the win. He said “I feel very elated to come first today and I really hope that I can come back next year and execute the same way.” He said further, “I actually don't practise very much but I come out here and just shoot the tournament and take a few pointers from family members, my father, especially, and uncle Khaleel.”

Lazarus believes that his natural talent is responsible for him doing well in the tournament.

Many persons in the gallery commented that it was by far the most competitive junior shooting competition to date at the club which introduced junior completion in 2010. The ATL Automotive Group Inter Schools Sporting Clays Challenge started in 2011.

Competition in the girls' classes was also competitive with an increased number of girls taking on the sport. A new champion Savanna Miller from Girls A Class, was crowned when she recorded a total score f 42 from 50 targets. Another girl, new shooter Sydney Muschett, shot 41 to take Girls B Class.

Miller was pleased with winning the girls' section of the challenge. “It feels really good to know that I could accomplish this. Sometimes competition for me is very hard because I get really nervous. This time I felt really relaxed from the beginning to the end and it was really good and it showed in the end in the results,” she said.

Hillel were declared the school champion after amassing 143 points, ahead of Campion with 141 and AISK on 140. Hillel have won every championship since the inter schools' challenge started in 2011. This year the scores of the top three shooters from each school were used to determine the school champion.

Captain of the Hillel team Cameron Pang-Sang said, “Every year the competitors just keep getting better and better. We keep improving on our own skills.” He had high praises for Zach Lazarus, the overall champion and runner-up Roman Tavares-Finson whose scores contributed to Hillel retaining the championship.

This year's tournament had the highest number of competing schools. The 15-school competition included one new entrant, Clarendon College. The other schools were AISK, Ardenne, Campion, Creative Kids, Glenmuir, Heinz Simonitch Prep, Hillel, Hopefield Prep, Immaculate, Immanuel Christian Academy, Jamaica College, Munro, Sts Peter & Paul Prep and St Andrew High.

Coach and former president of the Jamaica Skeet Club Khaleel Azan said that it was “another successful inter school shoot. Hillel the defending champion won again but only by one or two points and that augurs well. The first three were separated by only three points so that is super.”

He praised sub junior shooter David Wong and Danzell Knight shooting 50 out of 50 and made special mention of Savanna Miller for shooting an excellent score to win the girls' section. Azan indicated that this year's competition was the most competitive to date and that he looked forward to further growth of the sport at the junior level.

Additionally, he welcomed the increased number of female competitors to the sport and the competition.

This year all competitors had to shoot 50 targets in the main section as compared to last year when the Sub Juniors shot 25 targets.

There were nine shooting categories, broken down in terms of age and shooting ability. The categories were Junior A, Junior B, Junior C, Sub Junior A, Sub Junior B, Sub Junior C, Sub Junior D, Girls A and Girls B.

The junior shooters targeted 50 birds from eight stations and then another 18 birds from three stations in the Super-Six. For the first time since the competition began, three shooters had to have an additional eight-bird shoot-off to determine the winner and then yet another shoot-off to decide the first and second runner-up.

The sponsors were, title sponsor ATL Automotive Group, Best Dressed Chicken, Bigga, Hawkeye, Kingston ice, Reggae Jammins, St Mary's Banana, Tin Grinners Club Jamaica, True Juice, Wata, and Arts & Photo Impressions.

The top three shooters in the various classes

Junior A — Danzell Knight (50), Zach Lazarus (48) and Jonah Subaharan (48)

Junior B — Nathan Chin (47), Jonathan Ralston (46) and Dylan Williams (43)

Junior C — Brandon Anderson (31), Matthew Hincliff (30) and Zachary Thompson (31)

Girls A — Savannah Miller (42), Annabelle Chung (37) and Anna Issa (32)

Girls B — Sydney Muschett (42), Aliana McMaster (39) and Neesa DaCosta (35)

Sub Junior A — David Wong (50), Richard Todd (45) and Jordan Vaz (35)

Sub Junior B — Thomas Gore (40) who won shoot off with Ryan Lue who also shot 40 and Noah Azan (34)

Sub Junior C — Justyn Clarke (42), Joshua Lym (37) and Lukas Matthew (22)

Sub Junior D — Kyle Reid (40) and Alexander Clarke (28)

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