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Central Penn Crushers use sporting clays to develop responsible youth while training for nationals

The youth clay shooting team is training for nationals while using the sport to develop skills in young adults, with safety at the forefront.

WELLSVILLE, Pa. — The Central Penn Crushers are on a mission. 

The youth sporting clays shooting team is developing the next generation of athletes through the sport by exposing them to core values such as responsibility and discipline. 

Safety of handling firearms is at the forefront of every practice, and they all work together as a team for a common goal.

"They really tend to come into their own when they are in this team-type environment," said coach Shaun Henry. "That’s really what it's all about."

The Crushers are in the midst of training for nationals under the Scholastic Clay Target Program, which serves as the official youth program for USA shooting and Team USA. 

The athletes come from far and wide to compete in a sport that they all love.

"The first time I came out I went home I told my parents I liked it," said Katelyn Henry. "The friends and being out here doing something we all like together is what it’s all about."

The athletes compete in all different types of courses. Their biggest test is nationals, which begins in July. Each time on the course is to prepare for that moment. 

"Nationals is a culmination of our season," said Henry. "There will be close to 3,000 athletes, 8,000 event entries and will be close to 2 million targets thrown that week."

Some shooters may even want to eventually shoot at a college level. Working together as a team and holding each other accountable makes for quite the fun on the course.

"We work together and we coach each other," said Bill Gillmen. "You definitely don’t need to worry about anything else you have to do. You come out and have fun."

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