The invitation to represent Maryland at the Champions of Champions event held annually at the Grand American World Trapshooting Championships is one of the most prestigious opportunities for trapshooters in each state. The Grand American is the premiere shooting event in the world. The Champions of Champions event is only open to the 2019 state singles championship winner or runner-up (in the winner’s absence) and special category winners.

This year, eight Marylanders traveled to the World Shooting and Recreational Complex in Sparta, Illinois, to compete against the best trapshooters in the country. At the Champions of Champions event, 2019 Maryland state singles champion Shane Biser was joined by the following trapshooters who won their respective categories at the Maryland state trapshooting championships held in June: Nathan Bosley, Sub-Junior; Zach Doser, Junior; Nathaniel Neuland, Junior Gold; Michael Poe, Sub-Veteran; Douglas Howell, Senior Veteran; Laura MacNichol, Lady 1; and Janice Feaga, Lady 2.

As a youth shotgun coach for the Thurmont Conservation & Sportsman Club youth trapshooting program, I was pleased to have four of our youth members of the TCSC Top Shot team earn an invitation to compete in this prestigious event. Biser, Neuland, Doser and Bosley have had great scores this trapshooting season, and the opportunity to follow through with a trip to the Grand American was one that couldn’t be missed.

Expectations of each competitor can vary whenever shooting athletes compete at any level, but at the Grand American, one can only hope to shoot well above average scores for any chance of placing in an event. Fortunately, the high level of competition at the Grand American seems to bring out the best from each participant. Ultimately, at the end of the event, each competitor can usually take from it the experience and quite possibly their best personal scores.

Such was the case for 16-year-old Zach Doser, the Maryland singles Junior champion. His score of 94 at the Champions of Champions event at the Grand American fell well below his expectations, but he competed in several other events garnering his personal best scores in handicaps (97) and doubles (88). The experience has truly made him a better trapshooter.

Nathaniel Neuland, Maryland Junior Gold champion, scored a respectable 96 in the Champions of Champions singles event at the Grand American, placing him on the high gun report for the Junior Gold category. That same day, Neuland shot a score of 95 in a handicap event and had also had a nearly perfect doubles score, breaking 99 out of 100 targets, his personal best.

High scores don’t always mean winning at the Grand American. Although Neuland’s doubles score earned him first place for Junior Gold Class A, not every class and category receive awards for all events. The personal reward is simply knowing that one can compete with the best trapshooters in the country.

For 14-year-old Nathan Bosley, Maryland’s Sub-Junior champion, the experience was a great learning opportunity for the young trapshooter. His score of 95 in the Champion of Champions singles event was lower than he had hoped, but he is now determined more than ever to return to the Grand American next year. I have no doubt he will be back.

At only 17 years old, Shane Biser is the youngest competitor to win the Maryland state singles title. Biser scored a perfect 100 at the Champions singles event, the only Maryland competitor to continue into the second stage of the competition. His score tied four other junior participants. Biser did win second place Junior in a handicap event with a score of 97 but only after a shoot-off that took four rounds of 25 to determine the winner.

Doug Howell, Maryland’s Senior Veteran runner-up, shot an impressive score of 99, listing him in eighth place on the high gun report for his category. At the age of 71, Howell was glad to finally make a trip to Sparta to participate in the Champions of Champions event. Howell was the 2017 and 2018 Maryland Senior Veteran champion. Howell has been an excellent mentor to the younger and less experienced trapshooters.

Other scores for Maryland champions include: Sub-Veteran — Michael Poe, 98; Lady 1 — Laura MacNichol, 95; Lady 2 — Janice Feaga, 98.

Neuland wins AIM scholarship

Nathaniel Neuland was presented with a $2,500 AIM academic scholarship at the AIM Grand National Championships on July 30. Each year the AIM program awards 15 scholarships to selected athlete scholars for academics, integrity and marksmanship. Neuland is a chemistry major attending Washington College and is a member of the Washington College trap and skeet varsity team. This is the second AIM scholarship awarded to Neuland, who received an AIM Integrity Scholarship in 2017.

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