Jenks freshman wins world championship in skeet shooting
Ethan Hill isn’t your typical multi-sport athlete.
The 14-year-old Jenks freshman participates in the staples of athletics like football and wrestling, but his third love is much different.
It’s only been two years, but Hill has quickly taken to skeet shooting. Not only has his passion quickly engrossed him, but he’s one of the elite sharpshooters in the world.
He got to showcase his skill on an international stage last month in North Carolina in the National Skeet Shooting Association Junior World Skeet Championships. Hill entered the contest a nobody but walked away winning the whole thing.
“To go down to North Carolina and shoot with some of the best at my age, it takes a lot of practice and perfection,” Hill said. “To get there and win it, it was really awesome.”
Hill competed in five shooting events and only took first place in one of them, yet his overall score was the highest, making him the world champion.
He began with the doubles round where two separate houses fire targets going different directions. Hill knocked out 94 out of 100.
Hill went perfect in the 12-gauge round, hitting all 100 targets. He took fourth place in the 20-gauge round with 99 out of 100, third place in the 28-gauge round with 97 out of 100, and his 92 out of 100 record in the .410 round granted him fifth place.
Hill’s overall score of 388 out of 400 was good for first place, however, he was tied with one other participant.
The match went to a shoot off in doubles with a single miss elimination. The two went through four stations and Hill walked away victorious after his opponent missed the last two clays.
Throughout the year, Ethan didn’t compete in competitions so his performance at the world championships was unprecedented.
“I wanted him to go in there with them having no idea who he was,” Ethan’s father, Brian, said. “He walks in there and the first event, shoots 100 and wins the 12-gauge world championship. At that point he was no longer a mystery. Two days later he wins the whole thing.”
Ethan’s performance showed his commitment and hard work training over the recent months. That, combined with his natural skill at shooting, has quickly risen him up the ranks.
It wasn’t that long ago that shooting skeet wasn’t in his sights. It wasn’t until Ethan’s grandfather gave him a .410 for his 11th birthday did he discover his talent.
Ethan grew up around guns, Brian is the former range master for the Tulsa police department and a current Tulsa police officer. It wasn’t a matter of if, but when he would get into the sport.
“I’d never shot (the .410) before,” Ethan said. “I’d never really been into shotguns and going out and shooting it. It really just stuck out to me and it was a really fun experience and it’s just something I’ve been doing since.”
It took Ethan a year of practice with the .410 before he took part in any competitions. His first was St. Patrick’s Day 2017.
He didn’t take off right away. Ethan hit just 47 of 100 targets in the competition. But his growth has been immense since.
“It just shows that, even though he went out with zero training and really anything at that point and broke zero of the targets that were thrown at him with zero experience and since that point has gained exponentially,” Brian said.
Since the world championships Ethan has competed at the zone six shoot. Some of the best from Oklahoma, Texas, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana gathered for the event.
Participants included those from Ethan’s age range and above. Out of everyone, including professional shooters, Ethan took first place in .410 racking up 99 out of 100 targets.
“That was his biggest win,” Brian said. “Even though he won the sub junior world championship, as far as the overall kind of professional level win, that was probably the best one.”
Ethan has been enjoying success on many levels of the sport but it’s not the only thing he excels in.
He brings a new definition to the term student-athlete by juggling football, wrestling, shooting, and maintaining a 4.0 grade point average.
As he begins high school, Ethan says he knows it’ll be more difficult to do everything at a high level.
“Being in eighth grade last year it wasn’t that difficult but now, being in high school, I think it will,” he said. “Trying to balance out all those things, schoolwork, football, wrestling. It’ll be a lot harder this year. Last year it wasn’t tough, but it wasn’t easy either.”
Though his schedule may get busier over the next four years, he won’t stop his quest to further his education. Shooting skeet is something Ethan has found a talent in and he hopes he can balance the fun of the sport and help him in life.
“You need to have an extracurricular in order to get into one of the service academies and the one he’s really focusing on right now is the Air Force Academy,” Brian said. “Even though they don’t have a varsity shooting team they have a club shooting team that could be one of the avenues to get him in along with academics and other things. Whether it be a service academy or another college that offers shooting, that’s something he’s looking for just to have another resume builder for him to put himself above the crowd.”