Lauren Murphy, senior member of the Patrick County 4-H Marksmen Shooting Club, qualified as a member of the 2022 Virginia 4-H National Muzzleloader Development Team. As a member of the team Lauren represented Virginia in the 2022 4-H Shooting Sports National Championships which was held June 26 to July 1, in Grand Island, Nebraska.
To become a member of the 2022 Virginia 4-H National Muzzleloader Development Team the top 8 competitors were chosen from the 2021 State 4-H Shoot. The top 8 competitors were then required to qualify for the team, with only 4 spots available.
Other team members included Haley Berry, Rockingham County 4-H, Justin Berry, Rockingham County 4-H, and Caleb Rector, Smyth County 4-H. The 2022 Virginia 4-H National Muzzleloader Development Team coach was Ben Berry.
Once Lauren qualified for the team, she began practicing individually at home and practicing as a team, with the last three practices held in Patrick County at the Shooting Range. The 2022 Virginia 4-H National Muzzleloader Development Team practiced from March to June 2022. During the final three practice, many adjustments were made to equipment and to team members’ shooting methods to maximize the team’s performance at the national competition.
These adjustments were made by Ted Greer, dubbed the team’s “Secret Weapon.” Greer, a national champion, is a long-time Patrick County 4-H Marksmen Shooting Club volunteer. He has been shooting Muzzleloaders for more than 40 years, competing all over the world. His keen eye for firearms not only allows him to build his own guns, but his depth of knowledge of firearms allows him to make necessary adjustments to firearms to make them operate at their maximum ability. Many thanks are extended to Greer for all of his help with the 2022 Virginia 4-H National Muzzleloader Development Team and his dedication to the Patrick County 4-H Marksmen Shooting Club.
The team completed a fundraising campaign because each team member was responsible for all of their trip expenses, with competition fees of $2,400 per team member.
Lauren extended a sincere thank you to everyone who donated to support her journey to the National Championship.
During the 2022 4-H Shooting Sports National Championships, each event was timed and there was no parental or coach involvement while competing, only help provided from the coach was if equipment issues needed to be addressed. The team was required to work together to solve any issues that arose during competition and to keep score for each other. Because the environment was different in Nebraska where the competition was held, team members had to adjust their methods and firearms due to environmental factors.
The 2022 4-H Shooting Sports National Championships was a three-day event, with scores combined over the three-day competition to determine the winners.
On day one, Muzzleloading 50 Yard Bullseye Competition, the 2022 Virginia 4-H National Muzzleloader Development Team placed first with a team score of 525. Individual scores were Haley Berry, 181, Justin Berry, 164, Caleb Rector, 177, and Lauren Murphy, 167.
On day two, Muzzleloading 25 Yard Novelty Competition, the team placed first with a team score of 424. Individual scores were Haley Berry, 138, Justin Berry, 152, Caleb Rector, 116, and Lauren Murphy, 134. On day three, Muzzleloading Silhouettes Competition, the team placed second with a team score of 31, one point away from tying for first place.
Individual scores were Haley Berry, 11, Justin Berry, 11, Caleb Rector, 9, and Lauren Murphy, 3. Final results for the Muzzle Loading Competition, Individual Overall Standings, out of 63 competitors Haley Berry, 2nd place overall, Justin Berry, 3rd place overall, Caleb Rector, 12th place overall, and Lauren Murphy 28th place overall. Out of 16 teams in the 2022 4-H Shooting Sports National Championships, the 2022 Virginia 4-H National Muzzleloader Development Team won 1st place and are National Champions.
Lauren is the daughter of Ricky and Tracy Murphy. When not participating in shooting sports, Lauren also is a member of the Patrick County High School Color Guard and has taken dance since she was 4-years-old. She currently dances with the Dehart Dance Theatre at Spencer Penn. Lauren is a Senior Girl Scout having earned the Silver Award, she is currently pursuing her Gold Award. She is in her senior year at Patrick County High School.
Lauren also thanked all of the volunteers who dedicate their time to the Patrick County 4-H Marksmen Club, with a huge thank you to Wade Hooker, Lead Adult Volunteer; Kevin Clark, Adult Volunteer; Ted Greer, Adult Volunteer, and Ricky Murphy, Adult Volunteer.