Allyn Willis is a national shooting champion, and she hasn’t yet hit the high school.
At the USAYESS (Youth Education in Shooting Sports) competition in June, Allyn earned 7 awards, including six for first place. She took up the sport last November.
“I’ve only been shooting for 8 months, but I love it. I love being outside. Our practice facility is beautiful – it’s right near the Trinity River. The best time is fall when the weather is nice.”
Allyn, who will be a 9th grader at Lake Highlands High School next year, is a member of the Elm Fork Select Shooting Team, and she calls coach Craig Cain, an alum of LHHS, “so supportive.” It’s her father, Tim, though, who first taught her how.
“I used to be scared of shooting guns, so it’s kind of funny that I did so well at competition. My dad took me out and said, ‘shoot,’ so I did. I had a fear that the kick of the gun would hurt my shoulder. Once you use it, though, you overcome your fear. First, my dad took me out to our ranch to shoot watermelons.”
That first time, Allyn says, she couldn’t exactly be called a precision shooter. But she kept at it.
“My older brother, Grey, said, ‘I’ll bet you can’t shoot from your hip,’ so I had to prove him wrong.”
Allyn admits that shooting isn’t exactly a run-of-the-mill activity for ninth grade girls.
“My friends think it’s pretty cool, but I usually don’t talk about it,” she told me. “I love to be different.”
Yes, but is it a sport?
“I definitely consider it a sport,” said Allyn. “Even though it’s not like basketball or soccer, where people run around, it is in the Olympics.”
Allyn has a dog, Yosie, and a cat, Spook, and when she graduates from LHHS in 2020, she wants to attend Texas A&M or Colorado State to become a vet.
“But my dad and I have also talked about me becoming an undercover FBI agent or a sniper,” she said.
And Allyn has a message for young people like her interested in trying the sport.
“It’s fun. If you aren’t a great shot a first, don’t give up. Keep trying.”
Allyn was named Ladies Junior National Champion, Ladies Junior Skeet Champion, Ladies Junior 5-Stand Champion, Ladies Junior Sporting Clays Champion, Ladies Junior International Trap Champion, Ladies Junior Trap Champion and 3rd place Highest Overall. Congratulations, Allyn!