MILLEDGEVILLE — In the first year of its existence as a recognized sport in the Georgia Independent School Association, John Milledge Academy earned the first-ever state championship in clay shooting earlier this fall.
The Trojans had several sharp shooters on the team, but Wil Goette proved to be the class of the field all season — a season that concluded with him earning a runner-up finish in the state tournament and this week’s athlete of the week honors.
As one of the team’s more experienced shooters, Goette has competed on many different levels and in 11 months climbed the ranks to earn the National Sporting Clay Association’s Master Class.
“I’ve been in the sport for almost three years now,” he said. “My dad gave me my first shotgun — it was a little bitty thing, a 28-guage. I started out with the 4-H shotgun team, but it wasn’t long.
“I joined the Lake Oconee shotgun team and competed with them for two years, but I also started competing by myself. I made it to master class in 11 months, which is really unheard of my dad said. ”
On a roll, Goette won the national championship over the summer and admits afterward, “that’s when I traded my sports car for a new shotgun.”
Having competed on a larger stage, it was a difficult transition competing on a team, but Goette transitioned well coming off of a phenomenal summer.
“For my shooting, it hasn’t really changed it,” he said. “But it’s given me a lot of coaching experience, because I’m more experienced than most in the group. It gave me the chance to help them and see what they’re doing wrong, and how to correct that.”
Wrapping up the season finishing second in the state, shooting 267 out of 300 for all three categories —skeet, trap and sporting clays — the senior tried to think of his teammates first; however, admits to getting nervous at times.