By Anthony Mitchell
For The Daily Item
ELYSBURG -- Here's an interesting description not often heard in personal introductions: Nine-time trapshooting state champion.
The list of individuals that can lay claim to that feat, according to the PSSA record book, is capped at one -- Stephanie Sandler. The 26-year old native of New Ringgold has quickly established herself as one of the top shooters statewide, if not worldwide, with nine straight Pa. High-Overall Women's titles.
And like a number of the shooters at the Pa. State Trapshoot in Elysburg this week, she has a family member to thank for introducing her to the sport.
"I have an older brother who shot a year or two before me and I just came along," Sandler said.
Since she was 12 years old, Sandler has been practicing to reach her current elite level.
"When I started I was pretty young, but when I look back on (my accomplishments) now, I find it pretty amazing," she said.
Pretty amazing, indeed, when you consider Sandler attends college at Penn State-Schuylkill Haven in addition to shooting competitively.
The added workload of being a college student prevents Sandler from practicing frequently to stay at the level to which she is accustomed, but she has shown an ability to dial up her "A" game.
"I'm trying to shoot as much as I can right now and get school out of the way," she said.
For someone who has her name throughout the annals of state trapshooting history, Sandler said she is working toward one specific goal.
"I would like to get a Grand Slam," Sandler said. "I would eventually like to have that, but it takes a little time."
The ATA Grand Slam consists of 200 straight makes in singles (one pigeon fired at a time), 100 straight hits in doubles (two fired simultaneously), and 100 straight shattered clay pigeons in handicap (one pigeon fired but the shooters stand farther away) from the maximum 27-yard distance. Sandler has achieved a perfect score in both singles and doubles, and if she can smash 100 straight in handicap, she will become the first Pa. woman to complete the feat according to the Trapshooting Hall of Fame.