World champion skeet shooter, Fayth Layne of Columbia, to compete for Junior World Cup

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Champion skeet shooter Faythe Layne poses with some of her medals outside her home in Columbia, Tenn., on Monday, May 2, 2022.
Champion skeet shooter Faythe Layne poses with some of her medals outside her home in Columbia, Tenn., on Monday, May 2, 2022.

The first time Columbia-native Fayth Layne, 17, was presented with an opportunity in the fifth grade to pick up a shotgun and shoot at a clay target, she cried.

"I didn't want to pick up a gun. I didn't want to be around guns," Layne said. "But when I hit my target on the first shot, the rest is history."

Layne now handles the 12-gauge shotgun like its second nature, quickly reloading the ammunition even with perfectly manicured pink fingernails — a task she can accomplish in a millisecond between shooting clay targets traveling at a speed of 54 mph on the competitive field.

Champion skeet shooter assembles her gun inside her home in Columbia, Tenn., on Monday, May 2, 2022.
Champion skeet shooter assembles her gun inside her home in Columbia, Tenn., on Monday, May 2, 2022.

Spending almost eight years of her life training, Layne is now a world class skeet shooter, who is the reigning champion of the 2021 International Shooting Sport Federation Junior World Championships.

She will compete for the ISSF Junior World Cup in Suhl, Germany next week as part of the U.S. team.

Coach Craig Hancock of Georgia, who has been coaching clay target shooters from around the world for 20 years, says quite honestly not everyone can accomplish what Layne has at her age, or any age.

"It takes a special person," Hancock said. "Not everyone can perform at this level. It takes a tremendous amount of dedication and focus that you can't teach. She has it. It's inside."

The best record Layne has accomplished is hitting 116 targets in a row, and she's striving for even better.

She practices at least two to three hours of shooting a day, traveling to Georgia twice a month to train under Hancock's instruction and has traveled to Peru and all over the U.S. for competitions. In addition to shooting, she maintains her schoolwork daily through a home school program and finds time to spend with family and friends.

Champion skeet shooter Faythe Layne stands with her gun inside her bedroom in Columbia, Tenn., on Monday, May 2, 2022.
Champion skeet shooter Faythe Layne stands with her gun inside her bedroom in Columbia, Tenn., on Monday, May 2, 2022.

In life, it's not all about shooting she said. Fayth says her priorities include God first, then family, then school, then shooting.

The passion for skeet shooting drives her to excel in the sport, while focus and organization allow her to meet her goals, and most of all, her faith in God keeps her attention on what's important, she said.

A talent for organization, Layne said that she plans each day with an excel spreadsheet to keep up with all of her activities. Her bedroom remains neat, an organizational trait that impresses even her parents, and she's excited to begin each day.

"I always like to know what's coming next," Layne said. "I like to plan everything in advance, whether I am packing for travel or competing, have to get school work finished or running an errand for the family."

Columbia-native and 2021 junior world champion Fayth Layne, 17, stands with her coach Craig Hancock of Georgia, who has trained skeet shooters from around the world, during a practice session.
Columbia-native and 2021 junior world champion Fayth Layne, 17, stands with her coach Craig Hancock of Georgia, who has trained skeet shooters from around the world, during a practice session.

Even though she spends hours at the range, she said much training happens off the field, such as using mental strategies, which are just as important as the physical part of the sport.

"I do daily affirmations, think positively and do visualizations of succeeding at my goals," Layne said. She also finds time to read her Bible each day, she said.

Skills learned at range, apply to life

She said training for the sport allows her to take the skills learned on the field into real life applications, such as building confidence and learning how to achieve one's goals.

"Coach Hancock teaches us life skills," Layne said. "The confidence we take to the field can carry over in life, such as job interviews or public speaking, anything you want to achieve.

"You can go to any match we have, and there is so much respect among teenagers. We respect each other so much because we know how dedicated each of us are to the sport and what it takes."

Rep. Scott Cepicky, R-Culleoka, recently presented Fayth Layne with a proclamation honoring her achievement of winning the junior world title in Skeet shooting in the  2021 International Shooting Sport Federation Junior World Championships. Layne recently delivered a presentation at the Columbia Kiwanis Club's weekly meeting at the Memorial Building in Columbia, where Cepicky presented her with the document.
Rep. Scott Cepicky, R-Culleoka, recently presented Fayth Layne with a proclamation honoring her achievement of winning the junior world title in Skeet shooting in the 2021 International Shooting Sport Federation Junior World Championships. Layne recently delivered a presentation at the Columbia Kiwanis Club's weekly meeting at the Memorial Building in Columbia, where Cepicky presented her with the document.

Fayth is the daughter of David and Tanonni Garner.

This article originally appeared on The Daily Herald: Columbia world champion skeet shooter, Fayth Layne, competes for world cup

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