Hempfield teen receives national trapshooting award
Ian Fleming may only be 15 years old, but he's part of much older, grand tradition.
The Manor teen, a Hempfield sophomore, was recently named trapshooting's rookie of the year in the under-18 age category by Trap and Field Magazine, the official publication of the Amateur Trapshooting Association. The association has affiliates in all 50 states and each Canadian province, yet only one such junior rookie is named.
Pennsylvania shooters have long been well represented in the world of competitive trap shooting.
The association also names an All-American team each year. Fleming was named to the second team in the sub-junior category.
He was one of 13 Pennsylvanians to earn All-American status this past season. That brings the state's total over time — since 1927 — to 447. Only two states have ever earned more, according to the Pennsylvania State Sportsmen's Association, the state's trap shooting affiliate.
It's no wonder Ian's family is so proud.
"It was his first year of shooting, and he won all kinds of tournaments," said his father, Jim. "So it was a big accomplishment for him."
Ian got his start in trap shooting a few years ago, through a local 4-H club. He loves to shoot anything, from rifles and pistols to bows and shotguns.
But trap shooting is his favorite "by far," he said.
"I kind of like shooting moving targets rather than stationary ones," he said.
It's something he's good at. He broke 200 consecutive targets at the Pennsylvania state shoot this past summer — something "a lot of people don't do in their career," said Sandy Tidwell, senior editor of Trap and Field Magazine — and broke 100 straight a few weeks later at the West Virginia state shoot.
That's not something he keeps track of while on the line, though.
"I really just zone out," Ian said. "It's just like, well, I don't even know how to explain it.
"If I'm going straight, I know, but after a while I don't even think about it."
He credits his shooting - which he said improved dramatically early last summer - to lots of practice. He said he tries to shoot at least a couple of times each week, if not every day in the summer.
A straight-A student with designs on becoming a nuclear or computer engineer, Ian shoots most often at Trafford Sportsmen's Club. He's met a lot friends through trap shooting, he said, and is eager to get back at it.
"It's a lot of fun, so yeah, I can't wait," he said. "I don't have much to do right now."
A number of other local shooters earned recognition through the Pennsylvania State Sportsmen's Association recently.
Zachary Christy of Irwin and Ian Darroch of Aliquippa were named two of five Pennsylvania all-state first team selections for 2011 in the junior/sub-junior category. Francis Myers IV of Edinboro was a second-team selection.
William Hazlett of Sarver and John Minjock of Monongahela were named first team all-state in the veterans category, as was Philip Criado of Franklin.
Senior veteran first-team selections included Joe Alsippi of Avonmore and H.C. McAllister of Butler; second teamers included Robert Reese of Cheswick.
First-team selections among women included Belinda Pascoe of New Castle, Kim Bateman of Slippery Rock and Tina Boland of Ebensburg. Second-team honors went to Donna Natcher of Ebensburg and Michelle Shaffer of Windber.
On the men's side, first-team all-state shooters included Joel Etchen of Ligonier, who was named captain, Frank Pascoe of New Castle, Glenn Lash of Lowber and Kenneth Darroch of Aliquippa. Second-team selections included William Natcher of Ebensburg, Buster Haragos of Uniontown, Charles Austin of Edinboro and Regis Hess of Bethel Park.