Rising Shooting Star: Gianna Santo

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posted on September 17, 2019
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Sixteen-year-old competition sporting clays shooter Gianna Santo has been taking her home state by storm. In the past three years, she has amassed these wins:

  • 2019 New Hampshire HOA Champion
  • 2018 & 2019 Easter Extravaganza Prelim Runner Up
  • 2017, 2018, 2019 Vermont State Lady and Sub-Junior Champion
  • 2018 & 2019 DuPont Krieghoff All-State Vermont Lady

Gianna shoots a Syren Tempio Sporting 12 gauge. Syren, a division of Caesar Guerini and Fabarm, created a line of shotguns designed by, and made for, women shooters. It has aggressively sought out female competition shooters of all ages, and Gianna is one of its youngest on the ambassador team.

NRA Family: When people ask you what you do, what do you say? Elevator speech length.

Gianna Santo: I shoot sporting clays. It is like advanced skeet with different presentations of clay pigeons flying through the air, and I shoot them.  

NRA Family: What’s your history in the shooting sports and how did you get to where you are today?

Gianna Santo: I have been shooting guns since I was five, and I starting hunting when I was eight.

After I earned my hunter’s safety certificate, I started shooting sporting clays when I was 10. I have hunted deer, partridge, pheasants, rabbits, coyotes, turkeys, bobcats and woodcock. My dad trained me to shoot until we became neck-and-neck, and then I worked with Frank DeLuca, Jr., who taught me many great things. I also worked with Bill McGuire. Currently, my main trainer is Anthony Matarese at A.I.M Shooting School and Diane Sorantino.  

NRA Family: Do you consider yourself to be an ambassador for the shooting sports? Why?

Gianna Santo: Yes, because I am a young girl. We would love to get more minors, girls/women into the sport. People come up to me all the time and tell me what an inspiration I am to their children and/or wives.

NRA Family: Have you encouraged or inspired others whom you know to try shooting? Do you have any stories about that?

Gianna Santo: Yes! I have many friends whom I bring to our local club or our home course to have fun. My dad and I also have a lot of friends/neighbors that we teach. I also have my business, GNS Clays, so I instruct a lot of new people.

NRA Family: What does the future hold?

Gianna Santo: This winter I am planning to earn my NRA Junior Shotgun Certification to become an official instructor. I want to continue instructing and shooting sporting clays in the future, in hopes that it will become my career. I also plan to attend college for equine training and management so that someday I can have my own horse business.

NRA Family: Is there a discipline in the shooting sports that you’d like to improve in?

Gianna Santo: FITASC (Federation Internationale de Tir Aux Sportives de Chasse). It's hard for me, because I like to get into my gun – meaning that it takes me a minute to mount, because I like to put my head forward and make sure everything is comfortable before I call ‘Pull.’ I am registered for a couple of FITASC events so that I can practice and improve.

NRA Family: Usually, young people get tremendous support from family members what’s your story?

Gianna Santo: My whole family supports me so much! I mainly travel with my dad, but my mom and brother are always supporting me from home. They have made a lot of sacrifices so that I can do what I love.

NRA Family: Is there a sporting clays course in the US that you’d like to experience? If so, which one and why?

Gianna Santo: I would love to go anywhere; I especially want to make it to Coyote Springs Sporting Clays at some point. Most of my shooting is on the East Coast, besides one trip to Nationals. So, I think it would be cool to go shoot in Arizona.

NRA Family: What else do you like to do when you’re not training or shooting?

Gianna Santo: Of course, sporting clays is my passion, but I also love horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking, motocross, snowmobiling, snowmobile hill climb racing, skiing, snowboarding and bird hunting.

NRA Family: How can people follow you through social media?

Instagram – @gianna_santo

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