DON KETCHUM is a native of Phoenix. He was a sportswriter for The Arizona Republic/The Phoenix Gazette for nearly four decades. He covered high school sports on several occasions as well as the Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Cardinals and Arizona State sports. From 2008-14, he was a staff writer for, the web site of the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Skills, focus help XCP's Gross earn target title

From the time she was in about third grade, Jennifer Gross tagged along with her family when they went on hunting trips. She soon developed a love for shooting, and eventually took some hunting safety courses.
She also became involved in target shooting, and continues to excel as a member of the Xavier Hotshots club team that according to her has about 20 members.
On the weekend of Feb. 14-15, the XCP junior showed everyone just how accurate she can be by earning the girls’ high school championship in the Association of College Unions International Western Regional Collegiate Clay Target Championship at the Ben Avery Shooting Range in north Phoenix. The association also has high school divisions.
Gross captured gold medals in two of the categories (skeet and sporting clays) and a silver in the third (trap). Combined scores in the events added up to the overall winner.
On the Wikipedia Web site, the divisions are described thusly:
*Trap -- The targets are launched from a single "house" or machine, generally away from the shooter.
*Skeet-- Targets are launched from two "houses" in somewhat "sideways" paths that intersect in front of the shooter.
*Sporting clays -- Includes a more complex course, with many launch points.
“In trap, you have to have the discipline to shoot at target after target,’’ Gross said.
“With skeet, you have to be ready for those downward and ascending angles.’’
“The clays to me are the most fun. They never seem to get boring.’’
Gross tried her hand at softball as a freshman, but it took time away from her shooting, so she made her choice.
She is doing well academically at XCP. Her favorite subject is AP English and she enjoys the reading aspect. She expects to do a lot more reading as she aims for possible placement in medical school some day.
And her other favorite thing is to be involved with technical theater, serving as an assistant stage manager for plays.
Next on the competitive shooting agenda is the State Commissioner’s Cup in late March/early April.
XCP junior Jennifer Gross and her awards.

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