Cody Robison, 15, is a natural at competitive shooting

By Lynn R. Parks

Cody Robison just started competitive shooting last spring. And the Seaford-area teen already has several awards, including two that were won on the national level, under his belt. No one in his family would expect anything less.

"I'm not surprised by anything that Cody does," said his paternal grandfather, Lonnie Friedel, Seaford. "He is very serious and very competitive and always does very well at whatever he tries."

Sitting in the living room in the Robison home near Woodland, Freidel, his wife, Faith, and Cody's parents, Larry and Laurie Robison, reviewed Cody's accomplishments: In addition to his sporting clays awards, he made the Seaford High School varsity baseball team last year as a freshman. He is on the distinguished honor roll in the high school's Delaware New Tech Academy. He is the captain of a Punkin' Chunkin' team, Snot Rocket, that for three years has claimed first place in the youth air cannon division. In the most recent competition, the cannon sent its pumpkin 3,313 feet; the second-place distance was 2,926 feet.

"He even cleans his room once in a while and takes out the garbage," Larry Robison said, smiling.

In turn, Cody, 15, praises his family. "I get a lot of support from them," he said. "It means a lot to me. A lot of people don't have that kind of support and it's nice to have a family that's like that."

Cody first went trap shooting when he was 8-years-old. Lonnie Friedel, who took him to a shooting range in Salisbury, said that the young boy hit the first target that he tried for. "He was a natural," Friedel added.

Cody started shooting sporting clays at the Owens Station Hunting Preserve near Greenwood in March. (In sporting clays, the hunter shoots targets that are launched through the air in imitation of a bird flushed out of the grass. In trap shooting, the target is more predictable.)

In September, he won the state title in his age group. The next month, he went to the national competition, held in San Antonio, where he won two medals, one first place and one second place and both in Class D. Shooters are put into classes based on their accumulated scores in previous competitions. Since the Texas shoot, Cody has moved up to Class C. His goal is to work his way through classes B, A and AA to become a master.

"I hope to keep improving," he said. Sporting clays is a collegiate and an Olympic sport; already, Cody is receiving letters from colleges that have competitive shooting teams and that are interested in having him as a student.

Cody, who intends to shoot on the state and national levels again this year, and to head up the Snot Rocket team at Punkin' Chunkin' 2013, said that he enjoys the competitions that he engages in. "They teach me new life skills and I make new friends and gain knowledge," he said. And he has some advice for anyone, but particularly for teenagers, who are having a difficult time.

"Try something new," he said. "It's good to step outside of what you are comfortable with. You have more opportunity for success when you try something different."

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