Those are the words that really stuck with Patton, Pennsylvania’s Emily
Hayes early on in her career. “When I first started trap, I was always in my own head; I was definitely an overthinker,” the Cambria Heights Trap Team senior said. “One of my coaches told me not to think about scores because they didn’t matter. Just have fun, do your best, and bust some clay.”

PullUSA: Who introduced you to trap?
Emily Hayes: I first learned to shoot when I was a freshman. My dad, Brian Hayes, took me to a fundraiser shoot that benefited our local Sportsman’s Club. I was hooked immediately. I loved the smell of the gunpowder after every shot, the rush of adrenaline when I hit a bird, and watching it explode like a miniature celebratory firework. I must have shot on at least five more lines that day.

PullUSA: Have you improved a lot since then?
Hayes: Definitely. My first time shooting wasn’t the best—I think I got a 13—but I loved the sport too much to give up. I am very lucky to have my coaches because they showed me everything there is to know about trap from how to stand to how to clear your mind between each shot. They saw my potential even when I didn’t and took me from that first 13 to consistent 24s and 25s. I couldn’t be more grateful.

PullUSA: What do you like most about your clay target team and the League?
Hayes: I love how accepting and helpful everyone is to each other. No matter what your score is, you know you can come off the line and you’ll get one of two things: friendly advice or congratulations.

PullUSA: What other hobbies do you have?
Hayes: I love to play volleyball and I play the flute, piccolo, bassoon, and bagpipes in my concert and marching bands. I participate in the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science competitions and I love animals, biology, hunting with my PapPap and my family, and being outdoors.

PullUSA: Have you made any good friends or have any great memories from the League?
Hayes: My most memorable moment was when some college recruiters came to one of our practices and asked to talk to me after I shot a 46/50. I will never forget the looks on their faces when I told them that it was my first year shooting and I was only a sophomore!