Shooting is this teen’s specialty |

Shooting is this teen’s specialty

Submitted to the SunTruckee's Stephen Zissimos, 15, shoots a clay target during the California State Trap Championships held in Kingsburg, Calif., on June 25. Zissimos had a breakout performance at the tournament, one day blasting 99 of 100 targets, then another 25 straight to earn the Presidents Handicap.

It’s probably wise not to challenge Stephen Zissimos to a trap-shooting contest.

Zissimos, a soon-to-be sophomore at Truckee High, blasted 93 of 100 doubles targets from the sky at the California State Trap Championships held in Kingsburg, Calif., on June 25. The following day he shot down 99 of 100 targets positioned 4 yards farther away, then another 25 straight to win a shoot-off.

And he wasn’t through, as the 15-year-old capped the tournament by shooting 97 of 100 targets at 2 yards farther yet.

The first day’s performance earned him second place in the sub junior class in doubles trap and#8212; two clay targets ejected simultaneously from 16 yards out and#8212; while the next day he won the Presidents Handicap over 535 competitors from a distance of 20 yards. His effort in the finale, backed up to 22 yards based on his previous accuracy, was good enough for the California State Handicap Sub junior title.

His secret: and#8220;A lot, a lot of practice,and#8221; said Zissimos, who shoots with a Beretta 12-gauge shotgun.

But there was another force at work outside the hours of training at Reno’s Sagehill Gun Club.

His grandfather, George Zissimos, 77, died from complications of brain cancer at his Truckee home on June 13, and Stephen was determined to deliver a performance to make his and#8220;papouliand#8221; proud.

At the awards ceremony after Stephen’s breakout showing, he wore his grandfather’s USS St. Paul hat from the Korean War in his memory.

and#8220;I think he would have been very proud knowing I was thinking about him,and#8221; the young Zissimos said, adding his grandfather’s memory provided the extra motivation to perform as well as he did.

As for his future, Stephen Zissimos hopes to make the Junior Olympic trap team and eventually the U.S. Olympic squad.

He’s not wasting any time, either, as he’s currently competing in the Oregon State Trap Championships in Bend over the holiday weekend.

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