Seventeen-year-old Kathleen Fowler is good enough with a 12-gauge shotgun to be able to attend a trapshooting camp at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
In fact, she leaves tomorrow, one of five young trapshooters from across the country selected to attend the prestigious Junior Olympic Development Camp, which runs through Sunday.
"This is a wonderful opportunity and we at Camp Perry Shooting Club are very proud of her," said coach Angie Lorensen. She helps oversee the Scholastic Clay Target Program at the club, where Kathleen is a junior member and program participant. SCTP is sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
The Olympic camp is designed to give outstanding young shooters and leaders an opportunity to further develop their skills with the help of national coaches at the Olympic Training Site. Kathleen was chosen from among 21 finalists.
"They wanted someone who was a good shooter but who also had good leadership skills," said the teenage trapshooter. Among her leadership accomplishments she lists her post as the first junior officer at the Camp Perry club. "I'm bridging the gap to make sure our program can run successfully within the senior club."
She goes to practice club shoots early to set up for the junior shooters and keep scores. She shoots with the juniors on Sundays, up to 200 targets, plus another 100 targets on Thursday nights with the adults.
Outside of shooting, Kathleen is serving as the first youth representative on the administrative council of the United Methodist Church of Oak Harbor, is secretary of pastor-parish relations for the church, and is a member of the Thespians drama group and science club at school.
One of her senior photographs, by the way, features Kathleen in her shooting vest surrounded by gear, gun, and trophies.
She has been a member of the junior trap team at Camp Perry for three years and notes that when she started the shotgun sport, she was lucky to hit 6 of 25 clay targets. Now her average is in the low 80s, meaning she breaks more than 80 of every 100 "birds" she fires at. She uses a 12-gauge Winchester over/under.
At the well-known annual Flag City Championships held at Jaqua's Trap Club in Findlay in mid-July, Fowler was junior high all-around champion. She started out with a simple BB-gun.
"I have been shooting since I was nine. I started with an air rifle. My dad taught me out in the garage with my little Daisy. I moved up to a .22 rifle in junior high, and I moved to a shotgun when I entered senior high at Oak Harbor.
"We have a family history of shooting. My parents [John and Mary] were on the pistol team together at Ohio State University."
The Oak Harbor teen plans to continue trapshooting in college. She may enter the University of Cincinnati in the dental hygiene program, but she plans to look up a local trap club where she can train. She plans to compete in various collegiate shoots as an individual, rather than a team member.
Kathleen calls the upcoming Olympic camp "a great step forward in my goal of continuing in trapshooting after the SCTP. It is a great reward for training hard and focusing on my shooting."
Lorensen said the SCTP has been under way at Camp Perry for four years. "We started out begging 10 kids to participate the first year to having 23 sign up last year, with 19 competing in the Ohio State Trapshooting Championships. The club usually fields at least one junior team for the national SCTP competition at the renowned Grand American World's Trapshooting Championships at Vandalia, Ohio. The Grand moves to Sparta, Ill., next year.
"Kathleen has been one of the shining stars of the youth team at Camp Perry," said Lorensen. "She has not only become an amazing shooter in only a few years but has also shown incredible leadership skills both on and off the shooting line."
Adds Matt Hill, another SCTP coach: "Kathleen has worked very hard and deserves this opportunity." Hill, Lorensen, and a third coach, Dick Lawrence, are quite willing to help other clubs and schools get involved in the SCTP as well. Contact them at 419-635-2682.
Lorensen said that Fowler's sucess is infectious. Junior SCTP shooter Matt Likes of Huron "has also become an amazing shooter in the last couple of years. He has been competing on the junior team bringing in scores as high as 97 out of 100."
She also tips her shooting cap to Shawn Stack, a junior from Lyons who shot a 190 of 200 in the state championships in June, and Kaylee Lawrence, a sophomore from Norwalk who also had a 190 at the state shoot. Lawrence, Lorensen added, "won the handicap event at the Michigan fall team shoot with a score of 99 out of 100 and beat two men in a shootoff with a 23 out of 25."
Five subjuniors, Mick Reichert and Samatha Scott of Port Clinton, Neil Seiling and Lawrence of Norwalk and Doug Wahlers, of Toledo earned runner-up honors in their division at the Michigan fall shoot.
"The coaches are very proud of these shooters," said Loren-
sen. "Many of them started out knowing very little about shotguns and even less about trapshooting. I think they have come a long way."
Indeed, another among them eventually may follow Kathleen Fowler's footsteps to Colorado Springs.