Chugiak shooter wins world championship

Saturday, August 19, 2017 - 11:53
  • Matt Toth, center, poses with his U.S. Junior World Championship teammates Dominic Gross, left, and Braxton Oliver after they won the FITASC World Sporting Clays Championship near Budapest, Hungary, July 9, 2017. Photo courtesy of Jeff Toth

Alaska’s latest world champion is a hot shot from Chugiak.

20-year-old marksman Matt Toth helped Team U.S.A. to a dramatic win July 6-9 at the Federation Internationale de Tirs aux Armes Sportives de Chasse (FITASC) Sporting Clays Junior World Championships at the Galgamasca Shooting Ground near Budapest, Hungary. Toth is a Chugiak High grad who frequently hones his skills at the Birchwood Recreation and Shooting Park.

Toth joined teammates Braxton Oliver and Dominic Gross in defeating second-place Great Britain by a single point.

Sporting clays are moving targets that are fired from a variety of angles and positions in order to mimic real hunting scenarios. Shooters are not given information about where the clays will be coming from before shooting at them with shotguns.

Over the four-day competition, Toth finished 22nd individually among the 60 Junior competitors. Great Britain’s Josh Bridges won the overall title, with Gross taking second and France’s Alexandre Stambolzian third.

The teams were tied heading into the final round of the competition, with the U.S. posting a one-clay victory in the final round to claim victory. Italy finished third, 12 points behind Great Britain.

Toth is a member of the Professional Sporting Clays Association and an All-American marksman who also trains at Wasilla’s Grouse Ridge Shooting Grounds. According to Toth’s parents, Kelli and Jeff, the World Championships were attended by the Hungarian vice prime minister and televised in Europe. Toth’s dad said Matt got to meet a distant Hungarian cousin while visiting the Eastern European nation, reuniting a family that hadn’t been in contact for 100 years.

Toth is not the first shooting sports champion raised at the Birchwood range — the shooting park off Birchwood Loop also served as the training ground for Eagle River’s Corey Cogdell-Unrein, a two-time Olympic bronze medalist trap shooter who has two United States and two World Cup trap shooting victories to her name.

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