JACK Stockdale is only 16 but he’s just returned from New Zealand with four open national titles, after shooting scores even the world’s best would be thrilled with.
Jack, from Koonwarra, shoots with the Korumburra and Inverloch clubs and only began four years ago when he could obtain a gun licence.
It is clay target skeet shooting, and his four titles came in its varying disciplines.
The crowning achievement, the one that blew everyone away (not literally), was the skeet doubles in which he pulled a perfect 100/100.
Nobody had done that in the past 10 years of that competition which attracts the best from our part of the world.
He was the first junior to ever do it, and only a handful of shooters in the world have ever completed the feat.
The runner-up with 98/100 had every reason to feel a touch unlucky, as that’s usually a winning score.
“My previous best was 93/100 before I pulled that out. I’d never shot 50/50 before
He also won the Overall National 28 gauge title with 110/110.
Jack’s other wins were almost as impressive, but his overall performance ensured he was the first person to win four national titles at a single event.
He’d also had great success at a preliminary tournament, also in Hamilton, with impressive wins.
“I hoped I hadn’t peaked too early.”
When news filtered back to Korumburra Gun Club members about what he’d achieved, club president Trent Tobias said there was a mixture of disbelief and jubilation.
“What Jack has achieved in New Zealand is fantastic,” Trent said.
“To win an open national title at 16 and be shooting perfect scores is unheard of.
“Not even the best have won four titles at the nationals.”
Yes, Trent was shocked to hear of his scores, but not of his success at that level.
“It’s amazing to watch him. He has an old head on young shoulders. His technique is so smooth and effortless.”
Trent said he was also a very popular member of the club, who’s happy to chat to anyone about anything, regardless of their age.
Jack has won all of the junior Australian state titles and is on the Australian development team, but he’s just the beginning.
“My goal eventually is to make the open Australian team for the shoot in the USA which is held every two years,” Jack said.
Jack has the full support of his parents Tim and Judy.
“It’s an expensive sport and they’ve covered everything and stood right behind me.”
The Korumburra and Inverloch clubs have also been supportive.
Korumburra has re-established itself as a skeet shooting ground which has worked out well for Jack and other members.
“It’s given Jack a place locally to train. The only other place with these facilities in Gippsland is Bairnsdale, or, to the metro area in Frankston,” Trent said.
He said target shooting was one of the world’s safest sports, before ribbing Jack about the broken leg he copped playing footy with Leongatha earlier this year.
He also loves fishing, but shooting is now clearly his go.
“Mum and Dad used to shoot and they gave me a go as soon as I was old enough. I’ve liked it and done it ever since.
“It’s hard to explain. It’s addictive.”