Saturday, May 18 Carson City Nevada met the Grizzlies with a cold overcast morning.
The varsity “wrecking crew” wasted no time in crushing target after target with team captain Tyler Johnson and Caleb Montgomery smoking 98 targets apiece and tying them for second and third on the podium.
Montgomery won the shootoff putting him second and Johnson third. Then it was Jewel Kerby with a 97, followed by Hunter Smith, 96, Keegan Divine, 95, Wyatt Gould, 94, Bailey Spalding, 93, Jacob Daniels, 93, Jake McCart, 92, Kendahl Loflin, 90, Morgan Rausch and Dillon Ross with, 87, and Rylee McCart, with Nate Biggs and Parker Somerville defending the varsity team honor.
Out of a possible team score of 500, the varsity annihilated 484 targets and yet another first place finish for the “wrecking crew”, sweeping the series with six first place finishes way ahead of second place Berean Christian and third place Sutter.
By the time the JV’s shot, the winds were howling and coming in sideways. Broken targets from the trap next door were blowing all the way over onto our field.
Still, Aidan Adams and Logan Growdon managed to down 90 targets apiece, followed by freshman superstar Kat Baldwin’s, 88, Austin Stephenson, 86, JV team captain Will Pickens, 85, Michael Cizin, 82 , Alexis Pickens, 81, Chase Roby, 78, Rylan Pickens, 77, followed by Daniel Jones, Dharma Jones and that gave the JV’s a team score of 439 and a second place finish behind Berean’s 446 and Sutter finished third with a 415.
That gave the JV Grizzlies the edge they needed to win first place in the series shoots with 14 points for the season.
Sutter and Berean tied with 11 points each.
Coach Phil Giusti commented, “Wow, my varsity, what can I say? These young men and ladies shot 10 to 13 scores over 90 at every single shoot this year and swept the series. Sometimes the wins were only five to seven targets ahead of second place, but wins just the same.
Giusti continued, “I nicknamed the varsity team the “wrecking crew” after the first shoot and pointed out to them that the Dream Team of 2016 finished the season with 17 points, five first place finishes and one second and to beat that record was going to take some dedication and hard work.
“Well the crew responded and finished the season with 18 points, six first place finishes and left the other 13 division 3 schools battling for second place.
“A coach may only have a team like that once in a lifetime, but I have 22 members of this year’s team eligible to come back next year. For my JV’s it was a Cinderella story for sure, and they had to manufacture a first place finish and they did!
“The JV’s did it the hard way trading between first, second and third all year I never knew how they were going to do till the gun powder and smoke cleared, but my JV’s just wouldn’t quit. They would win a third then come back at the next one and win first.
“Target after target they inched their way to the top and stayed there backing each other up. That’s what won it for them at our last shoot when two of our top guns had an off day. Kat Baldwin stepped up to the plate and hit it out of the park with an 88 her best score of the year when we needed it the most and then
“Austin Stephenson’s 85, literally won us the championship. Before Kat went out and shot her last targets we had a talk, and I told her I need a 25 straight from you on this trap. She said ‘If I do, will you buy me a new gun’ and I told her only if you shoot a 26 ‘impossible’ Well it’s the good thing I said 26 because she went 25 straight on the last trap of the day.
“I am so proud of this JV team. I believe my co-coaches and I are instilling that tough wins come with hard work and dedication.
“Between our varsity and JV’s we put 13 on the podium this year and that’s going against every team in the CYSSA. I would like to thank my coaches Nate Spalding, Rob Schrage and Bob Chavez, for staying on the same page all year and guiding these young men and young ladies to victory.
“Next stop, State Finals Stockton California, June 15 and 16 where all teams start over with a clean slate. I have high expectations for the Grizzlies,” said Giusti.