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One has to be a bit of a perfectionist to compete in skeet shooting.

Endurance doesn’t hurt either.

Two of the York area's top skeet shooters, Thomas Hillard and R. Dennis Lehman, recently participated in the 2019 World Skeet Championships in San Antonio, Texas.

Neither came home disappointed.

Hillard broke 75 out of 75 targets to finish fourth in the world in the A class in the 12-gauge event. Lehman, meannwhile, broke 100 out of 100 in the 28-gauge event to finish seventh in the AAA class and second in the senior class (ages 61-69).

Lehman also finished third in the senior class in the 20-gauge event in the mini-world championships.

“It was hot down there,” Lehman said of the event, which ran from Sept. 27 through Oct 4. “For 100 targets, they expect you to finish within an hour and 20 minutes, but you have to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. And you have to have good conditioning also.”

While the championships were filled with best of the best from around the world, Lehman held his own. He just doesn’t consider himself to be in the same class as the professionals that were on hand.

“There are professional shooters that travel around the country and do this for a living,” Lehman said. “They travel all over and give instruction classes.”

While Lehman finished second in the senior class, winning an open title is next to impossible against the pros. The total field for the open event was more than 700 deep.

“They have an open championship in which you compete against everyone,” Lehman said. “It would be kind of like if you were golfing in a tournament against Tiger Woods. It doesn’t matter what age you are, there are no restrictions.”

Lehman had a good time during his time in Texas. Besides being there with his good friend, Hillard, he also was on hand to see the induction of his friend, Sam Armstrong, into the United States Skeet Shooting Hall of Fame.

“Sam has been in the game a long time,” Lehman said of Armstrong, who lives near Hagerstown, Maryland. “He’s a great shooter and he really deserved to go into the Hall of Fame.”

While both Lehman and Hillard performed well in their respective classes, their “winnings” didn’t even cover their total expenses.

For Lehman, who retired 10 years ago from his job as the principal at William Penn Senior High School, that’s just fine.

“You don’t compete in this game in order to make a living,” he said. “I’m retired and I probably won maybe half of my money that I spent to go down there.”

Notes: When multiple shooters have a perfect score (100 for 100, for example), the tie or ties are broken by the shooters who progress the furthest in a doubles shoot-off.

The classes are determined by an individual’s average for the last five events in a particular gauge. For example, to be classified as a AAA shooter in the 12-gauge event, the shooter's average for the last five 12-gauge events must be 98.5 and over. For AA, the average is 97.50-98.49. In Class A, the average is 96-97.49.

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdispatch.com.

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