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Caught in a trap

July 31, 1999

Trapshooting has Lacy Effland staring down the competition

A woman with a high-powered rifle admits that she can't get the song "Walk This Way" by Aerosmith out of her head.

Do not be nervous.

The song might as well be a lullaby to Lacy Effland of Bunker Hill, W.Va., who has listened to those rock 'n' roll lyrics and turned them into her own smash hit.

The junior-to-be at Musselman High School has won five state trapshooting titles over the past month, including a 100-for-100 performance for the Virginia Class B title over 4th of July weekend.

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"You get the first 25, and you think, 'I'm all right.' After the next 25, that's decent," Effland said. "When you're at 75 and you haven't missed, your chest starts getting a little heavy.

"Around 90, you just start sweating and shaking. After I got the last one, it was just relief. Out of 325 people, five had 100s."

Effland proved it was no sweat to get to 100. Then she backed up her perfect day with four state titles at the West Virginia State Trapshoot the next weekend.

"This year, I hadn't been shooting that great and not expecting anything," Effland said. "But I got up there and did great."

That's the basic summary of Effland's whole shooting career. It began at age 8 when her grandfather took her to Izaak Walton Gun Club in Leetown, W.Va. She tried skeet shooting - and hated it. But trapshooting was a lot different.

"It just gets addictive," Effland said. "It's so fun, you just want to do it and do it and do it."

At 12, things got a little more serious when she entered competitions. Then, she picked up a coach, and things took off.

"She's great to work with," said Bill Crum, who works with Effland at Shenandoah Valley Gun Club in Inwood. "She's easy going, and she pays attention. She came to me and ... she had no bad habits; that's different than other people."

Effland again credits that to her grandfather.

"He taught me so much about it," Effland said. "And not just about shooting, but everything. How to clean the gun, safety, all of it."

Now it's Effland that's cleaning up. She's growing accustomed to standing out in the crowd. Her weekly shoots are in the area, and most of her counterparts are male.

Not that she minds any.

"It doesn't really bother me, but it does get them a little hacked when I beat them," Effland said. "At the other meets, there are women that shoot that are friends and stuff."

And she's up for more than just friendly competition.

In order to qualify for the Grand American, the national championships of trapshooting, you must be selected to the all-state first team - a yearlong compilation of every weekly shoot for every person. Unlike basketball, softball or most other sports, there's only one spot on that team.

Effland will be representing West Virginia for the second time in the 100th Grand American next month in Vandalia, Ohio.

"I shot it last year in juniors," Effland said. "It was a little overwhelming; it seems like you have to do 100 to have a chance. But since I've seen it once, I can try to do it this time."

Crum knows he can't help her much. Especially because he'll be back here giving lessons when Effland's competition is going on. But as a Grand American veteran (and sixth-place finisher in 1995), he knows what to tell her to expect.

"I know the stress," Crum said. "The biggest thing is to be mentally and physically prepared endurance-wise. Ohio, in mid-August; you've got to be ready in order to do that.

"(But) seriousness and focus, those are her best qualities. Total focus, that's the biggest thing I've noticed. And she's got a lot of confidence in herself."

It's almost a requirement. There is no high school team for her to compete on, and only 27 colleges in the country have scholarships - James Madison, Virginia Tech and George Mason are three of them.

Her goal: Pick off one of those rare scholarships for a good education.

As far as anything past that ... well, it's a little early to tell.

"Up at West Virginias, I went up against a couple All-Americans and beat them, so ...," Effland said. "I don't know. Right now, I don't think I'm that good.

"Maybe in a few years, but I've got a lot of hard work to do."

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