LANSING — Ashe County’s Noah Gouge wrapped up his 2016 shooting season in style, finishing third place in the nation in ATA (Amateur Trapshooting Association) All-American points in the junior class.
Gouge finished the year with 2,095 all-American points.
In the Virginia state shoot, Gouge won nine trophies and racked up 197 all-American points.
After the Virginia shoot, he competed in the Southern Zone Telephonic Shoot where he finished as the junior runner-up, hitting 391 of 400 targets. Gouge won four trophies including the high all around.
The season ended with the biggest shoot of the season, the Grand American held each year in Sparta, Illinois. A total of 3,101 people competed where Gouge once again had to figure out how to bring home all of his hardware. The Lansing native earned 14 trophies and finished 13th in the high overall.
Out of a total of 2,600 targets, Gouge nailed 2,523 in singles handicap. Overall, he finished with an aggregate average of 97.04 percent, good enough for 14th out of 3,101 entries.
In the ATA Super 500 Doubles event, Gouge had the sixth highest score out of 1,429 shooters. He hit 494 of the 500 targets.
Overall, Gouge won 86 trophies on the season and earned his recognition as an AA27AA shooter, meaning he’s shooting from the 27-yard line, the longest distance of all shooters. He also earned two and a half yards of complimentary punch backs for his handicap score of 97.
“I had a great season. I enjoyed shooting with my friends and getting to meet new people all year,” said Gouge.
It was tough for Gouge to single out his favorite moment of the season, but he said that how well he shot in the events at the Grand American was probably his favorite moment.
Looking ahead to the future, Gouge has been exploring his college options with athletic departments that offer trap shooting programs. Lindenwood University, possibly the top shooting program in the country, has already been in contact with Gouge.
“I’m really excited about Lindenwood and what they have to offer. I have looked at other schools too. I am excited for the future,” he said.
Lindenwood and several other colleges and universities do offer scholarships for trap shooters.
“I would like to thank all of my local sponsors and supporters that helped me through the year,” said Gouge. “I’d like to say a special thanks to Vern Brown Jr. and Precision Fit Stocks (PFS) for their great product.”
Nathan Ham can be reached at 336-489-3062.