WEST JEFFERSON — Noah Gouge’s goal of being a Trapshooting All-American at the age of 16 came to fruition thanks to four more outstanding shooting performances to wrap up a long spring and summer of travel and competitions.
Gouge traveled to Winchester, Virginia for the Virginia State Shoot over the July 4 weekend. The Ashe native reeled off nine event championships against over 1,600 competitors that participated.
Gouge won four singles championships, three doubles championships, was the high all-around and high over all junior champion.
Next up, Noah traveled to New York for the NY State Shoot. 18 states and Canada were represented in this competition, and Noah finished as the highest scoring non-resident Junior and Class A Champion. Gouge shot 99 out of 100 targets to win the Doubles Non-Resident Overall Championship. In New York, Gouge won six total events against just over 2,609 shooters.
The Southern Zone Shoot was next on the list where shooting events take place in three locations: Bostic, North Carolina, Berea, Kentucky and Odessa, Florida. The event lasted from July 15-19.
During the Southern Zone Warm Up on Wednesday, Noah shot against 50 people in a 300 target race and was the overall champ in doubles, overall champ in handicap, AA Singles champ and had the highest overall score, hitting 295 out of 300.
The rest of the Southern Zone shoot saw Gouge win five trophies. He was the Junior Doubles Class Champion, AA Class Singles Champion, Zone-Wide AAA Doubles runner-up and Junior Doubles third place.
The biggest of them all came earlier this month in Sparta, Illinois with the 2015 Grand American Shoot. The two-week event saw on average a total of 2,400 shooters per day with between 800 and 900 junior shooters each day.
Noah was on top of his game for most of the two-week stretch, shooting a 98.8-percent average, missing just 12 singles targets out of 1,000 and a doubles average of 94.28-percent.
Gouge placed third in one event even with a perfect score, it took a four-day shoot off to determine a champion.
The highest honor a junior shooter can receive also went to Noah at the Grand American. The McGorin Trophy is given to the top finishing junior in their first or second year competing in the event. Noah won by hitting 198 of 200 targets in a second round shoot-off to earn the prestigious trophy.
Noah said one of the most memorable moments of the competition was getting the chance to shoot alongside the Brazilian National Team that even included an Olympic competitor. Gouge shot with the team and ended up having the highest score in the squad.
Overall, Gouge will finish as one of the top 20 junior shooters in the nation and will be on the All-American list, the goal he set over four months ago.
All of this would not have been possible if it weren’t for sponsors helping out with travel expenses. Noah’s 2015 sponsors were Big Springs Tree Farm, Goss Family Tree Farm, Fishel Organic Farm and Virginia-Carolina Concrete.
Nathan Ham can be reached at 336-846-7164 or followed on Twitter @NathanHam87