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Shooting star: Southern Middle School teen finds right range

By Bob Sutton

Special to The Alamance News

Gabby Vincent, a Southern Alamance Middle School student, recorded the best-ever state finish for a girl from the school in the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission’s youth hunter education skills competition.

Vincent placed third in the state in the shotgun/rifle category. Steve Moore, who’s coach of the team, said it’s the first time a girl from the middle school has finished in the top three.

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She said she had an inkling that she would enjoy competing in the sport.

Gabby Vincent with Southern Alamance Middle School coach Steve Moore.

“I saw that they had a shooting team and that interested me,” Vincent said. “I like hunting and shooting guns.”

She scored 192 out of a possible 200 in the state competition, which included more than 140 entrants in the April competition at Ellerbe.

“We’ve had some individuals that would place,” Moore said. “She definitely scored up there.”

Vincent, 13, shot her 457 CZ rifle 75 feet from the target. She completed five rounds in the three-minute time limit.

“She’s a very quiet girl,” Moore said. “Always down to business at practice. She’s really serious when she’s shooting.”

The oldest of four daughters of Jonathan and Kristin Vincent of Liberty, she recently completed eighth grade. The family’s move from Graham to Liberty has provided a more conducive setting for outdoors-related sports.

Gabby Vincent with parents Kristin and Jonathan Vincent.

Her father hunts, so there was knowledge of shooting as a background before joining the middle school program as a seventh grader.

“She shot a little before that,” Jonathan Vincent said. “She has the work ethic. She’s just eager to be good. She’s a natural.”

Gabby Vincent, who weighs about 80 pounds, said she didn’t fare well despite making the state competition in 2023.

“Toward the end of the seventh grade, I learned I could push myself,” she said.

Aside from the weekly team practice, the teenager said she tries to practice at least three times a week – and then daily leading up to the last competition. That translated into a rewarding experience at the state event.

“I was shocked, but I knew if I could keep what I was doing (I might finish high),” she said. “It just showed me how well I could do.”

There were 28 middle school teams qualifying for the state competition after more than 200 teams were entered across nine districts. The 12-member team, consisting of boys and girls, from Southern Alamance Middle School placed sixth in the team standings.

“We’ve had a good run of it,” Moore said.

Vincent also ended up in the top 35 in archery.

Moore said the season lasts about four months and participation is strong in the Southern Alamance district with about 40 participants with the middle school and high school combined.

“We put a lot of time in,” Moore said. “It’s a lot of kids and families involved. Some have been doing this for a long time.”


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