Shooting for the Stars

Are your kids looking for a break from traditional sports like football, baseball or basketball? Maybe target shooting is just the activity they’re looking for! Southlake Carroll Target Team Head Coach Mitch Hagy gives us the rundown of what it’s like being a Dragon target shooter.

Tell us a bit about the Southlake Carroll Target Team (SCTT)

The team was founded in 2012 as the Carroll Clay Target Team and is about to begin its eleventh season. SCTT, as it is known, is a Carroll ISD club sport that is open to Carroll and home-schooled students that live in the Carroll ISD district. Students can join the team with little experience and as early as seventh grade and compete within similar ability categories. SCTT welcomes both boys and girls to the team with some of our female athletes being the top shots of the team. 

We heard that some of your shooters have regional, state and national recognition or titles…

There are two sanctioning bodies that the team competes in on a high-school level called SCTP (Scholastic Clay Target Program) and TexasYESS (Texas Youth Education in Shooting Sports). Beginning in September, each month provides one or two local competitions in trap, skeet and sporting clays which culminates into a league championship at the end of the season.

As a team, SCTT has won state and national titles in skeet and sporting clays. In 2018, the team won the SCTP National Sporting Clay Championship. 2022 was one of the most successful seasons on record with a TexasYESS State Championship and a second place in the USAYESS National Championships. SCTT athletes have also achieved numerous individual state, national and world titles.

This year’s Team Captain, Nate Hagy, has won multiple local, state and national events throughout his six years on the team as well as Texas All-State and All-Scholastic teams. This year alone, SCTT athletes won nine High Overall All (HOA) championships, 17 first-place finishes, six second-place finishes and seven third-place finishes. SCTT also awarded 17 varsity letters.  

How has your recruitment grown?

This year, SCTT boasted 72 athletes on its roster! What is really exciting about SCTT is that a student looking for a sport to call home and to be a Dragon athlete has an opportunity to learn a lifelong skill. You can also choose to be as competitive as you would like to be by choosing the events you would like to participate in or none at all. 

How long is the typical target season? 

The season begins with our orientation meeting usually at the end of August. Prior to practices, new shooters are placed within four houses named after the 2018 National Champion Captains: Nick Godfrey, Spencer Fairchild, Bennett Gall and Tyler Hall.  This allows our first-year shooters to have a “house family” of shooters and participate in fun competitions for house points. At the end of the season, points are tallied and one house is named champion and earns the Dragon Cup. 

From there, new shooters are assessed and placed within practice squads. Practices begin in September as we get ready to begin league competition which lasts through the fall and spring. As the season progresses, the team starts to prepare for our regional, state and national competitions which take place in May, June and July of the following year.   

Why is target shooting so appealing to our local kids?

Shotgun sports is one of the fastest growing sports in America. Each year at the SCTP Nationals in Ohio, over 3,500 athletes are competing in week-long competitions representing the 50 states. As Texans, we love to hunt and the discipline of trap and sporting clays lets students try their hand at targets. 

Shotgun sports is something students can continue to do throughout their lives and can someday teach their kids. Students who are not interested in traditional sports such as football, baseball or basketball can find their own sport to love. It teaches kids to respect a firearm and the mechanics and understanding behind the tool.

How are team practices structured?

SCTT practices at DFW Adventure Park, now known as Northlake Shooting Center, in Roanoke. SCTT practices are broken down into practice squads of shooters with similar abilities. These practice squads help build comradery and provide incentive to practice and improve. Practices usually last for about an hour and a half to two hours with this year’s average of 75 to 100 rounds per practice. At the end of our practices, our athletes participate in friendly, intra-squad competitions to build team unity, have fun and earn house points.  

This year’s team was led by Head Coach Mitch Hagy along with Assistant Coaches Kyle Mohon, Jimmy Martin and Cameron Gray. Acclaimed trap shooter and coach Joe Longo has led our trap practices for the last two years and enabled our kids to have multiple league wins. Coach Robbi Vincent oversaw our skeet and sporting practices. 

Seniors can earn university level scholarships with target shooting. Are there many bursaries available for this sport?

University and college teams actively recruit top shooters in Texas and specifically from the Southlake Carroll Target Team since it is regarded as one of the top high-school shooting programs in the United States. 

College level coaches are looking for all-around shooters that can excel in trap, skeet and sporting clays known as High Overall All (HOA) shooters. Many of the top schools will provide scholarship money, jerseys and vests, travel expenses, practice and competition ammo, and more as they work toward league and national competitions, allowing students to compete for Collegiate Championships. 

For those students who want to continue to shoot as a hobby in college, there are also many that have a club atmosphere where anyone can join as a member.  

The local sanctioning bodies, SCTP, TexasYESS and USAYESS also provide scholarships for athletes that participate in high-school shotgun sports. Lizzie Garcia and Nate Hagy received scholarship money from TexasYESS this year. Nate also received a SCTP scholarship and won the first annual Mike Borg USAYESS Memorial Scholarship worth $1,000. 

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