Don’t tell Allyn Willis that shooting is a man’s game.
When the rising Lake Highlands High School senior competed at the USAYESS National Championships with her Elm Fork Shooting Team in June, she earned her second consecutive national ladies title, placed fifth overall in the men’s open class and won two individual events – sporting clays and skeet. The team, which includes Lake Highlands resident and Bishop Lynch senior Shaeffer Lott, claimed its third straight national championship.
“It was fun,” Willis told me. “I know a lot of people in the shooting world, and male-dominance does reign. It does feel good, though, to beat the boys.”
Willis has been earning big awards since before she entered high school, so she knew she entered the tournament with a target on her back…so to speak.
“Even though I went in as the national champion, on the first day of the competition, that title is removed,” said Willis. “I was shooting my best and I was focused, but I was also having fun.”
If there are any surprises left for a repeating champ, Willis admits a change of strategy left her unsure of what to expect.
“It was shocking to me that I did so well,” Willis told me. “I did not practice one bit outside of mandatory practices this year. I kind of wanted to take a break. I was feeling worn down, honestly, and for my junior year I wanted to focus on my grades and applying to colleges. I had been shooting every weekend, with not enough time to do homework. I was falling behind, and I needed to focus.”
Next, Willis will dive headlong into the college application process.
“I’ve been offered a scholarship to join the shooting team at Angelo State University, and I’m applying to Texas A&M,” explained Willis. Shooting is not an NCAA sport, but the Aggies have a shooting club that might just be interested in having a national champ as a member. For now, though, she’s enjoying her win.
“It was an honor to beat people I respect – they’re great shooters, and they’ve taught me a lot,” continued Willis. “We are a family, and they were proud of me and supported me throughout the tournament.”