Trinity’s Salvanera gets shot at college scholarship
by Chris Goltermann
Christian Salvanera routinely went up against some of the toughest linemen in the GISA during the football season while playing for a state-playoff bound Trinity Christian lineup last fall.
The same commitment helped him equally excel at a less familiar sport offered by the association.
Salvanera recently won the GISA first trap shooting state championship while adding to a long list of accolades in shooting sports for the senior since he was in middle school.
Two trips to the USA Shooting Junior Olympics in his sophomore and junior years of high school, along with a 99 out of 100 posted in the GISA championships helped the Trinity standout earn a scholarship offer from Emmanuel College in Franklin Springs.
“Christian was always a great leader on and off the field,” Trinity head football coach Chris Hanson said. “He is the type player and person that wants to help everyone be successful and he does this by encouraging them on a routine basis.”
Football and trap shooting, however, are polar opposites when it comes to achieving success. One sport relies on 11 players working as a unit. The other puts the focus directly on the individual.
The shotgun sport features four rounds of 25 targets at the GISA level. The Junior Olympics feature international trap formats with more unique angles.
“They’re very different,” said Salvanera, who has competed in a wide variety of activities growing up, from gymnastics to archery and karate while also playing for Trinity’s soccer team last year. “In football you have to rely on your teammates. When you’re shooting, it’s just you out there.”
A torn knee ligament suffered at the close of the 2013 kept Salvanera from returning to the soccer field this spring.
Just prior to his injury, Salvanera and younger sister Danielle, a sophomore, medaled at the GISA Championships on Dec. 6-7.
The two began participated in shooting sports through the the Fayette 4-H Shotgun Club, which has a practice range.
“There’s a lot of mental [aspects] to it. You have to be make 200 shots at times. For example, at matches I’ve [fired] between 198 and 200 and won’t get even near the top [of the field]. You’ve got to keep your concentration and there will be times that you’re dealing with heavy rain. Other times you’re dealing with 40 mph winds.”
It’s as much a reason why focusing on … well … his focus has been an area that has made the difference for Salvanera. Much of the learning, though, has been through competition, especially in one-on-one shootoffs.
“I’ve been working on just calming my mind and staying in that zone,” he said. “When you’re in a shootoff, all eyes are on you. I’ve tried to use that to help me stay focused.”
Hanson, meanwhile, has witnessed Salvanera’s level commitment during the football season, which included 19 tackles and a pair of fumble recoveries.
Emmanuel, an NAIA program, placed among the top five at five of its seven competitions this season including a fourth-place finish among 21 schools at the Jacksonville University Fall Invitational - Trap and Skeet Competition.
“He was very committed to his team when it came to football,” the Lions coach said. “He will do awesome at Emmanuel as he looks to take his leadership there to help that team continue their tradition of excellence.”