Teacher revives school's clay target shooting

STU PIDDINGTON
Last updated 05:00 26/06/2014
Mountainview High skeet shooting
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/Fairfax NZ

ON TARGET: Mountainview skeet coach Tash Oakden with students (from left) Dylan Snelleksz, Craig Wilson and Joshua Boulden, who tasted success at their first competitive shoot.

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The passion of a teacher at Mountainview High School has led to a revival of clay target shooting with growing success.

Physical education teacher Tash Oakden doubles as the team's coach of the dozen newcomers to the sport, including the only girl Mae-Kwai Auld.

At their first secondary school shoot at Christchurch's Waihora Gun Club, Mountainview grabbed several medals in the B-grade competition.

Dylan Snelleksz was in two shoot-offs, finishing third in the points score and fifth in the single barrel, as well as second in the high gun overall.

Josh Boulden was also in a shoot-off and won the single rise B grade while Craig Wilson finished second in the single barrel.

Oakden said the squad practised once a week and only had 11 practices so far, so she was impressed with their results.

A former shooter herself, Oakden said she wanted to share her knowledge and give them the same opportunity she had.

Oakden said it was a rewarding experience.

"Doug [King] and the boys at the Timaru Gun Club are fantastic as they open up the clubroom and trap, and are always there helping out."

Oakden said she watched her brother, Dwayne, shoot and, having a competitive nature, she started shooting for her Whangarei school in year 9.

"For five years while I was at high school I won the ladies high gun for all the Northland secondary school shooting competitions."

In 2006, in her final year at school, she won national titles.

Oakden also got into rallying and was co-driver for her brother, Brendan.

"Rally New Zealand went past our gate every year and we watched it, and then our parents agreed to help us with a car."

A move to university brought a change in focus from skeet to rallying and motorsport.

"My skeet coach, Henry Wagner, also passed away shortly after I started at uni and this was very hard for me to deal with as he had given me the world."

Oakden said she absolutely loved motorsport: "I have co-driven with a few different drivers in the last 13 years.

"This year I am co-driving with James Worker in a Ford Fiesta and Gary Morgan from Australia in a Subaru.

"Possum Bourne Motorsport is about to finish building Gary a new Subaru BRZ, which will be the car that I manage for the endurance race team."

Oakden said she might return to the competitive shooting scene one day.

"I still shoot and go hunting, but just for fun, but I love coaching students."

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- The Timaru Herald

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