Tech Takes Shot At Trap

Tech Takes Shot At Trap Click to Enlarge Photo: KNSI Sports

(KNSI) - Over 330 schools and more than 8,300 student athletes will be participating the next nine days at the Trap Shooting Championships in Alexandria, MN.

On Monday, 79 different schools fielded a team as Class-1A has the most teams entered in the championships.

It is truly remarkable how much this sport has taken-off and the President of the USA Clay Target League, John Nelson is even impressed.

“It continues to grow from our early days; we joke that our first tournament nine years ago had twenty kids in it and this year we have eight-thousand-three-hundred and fifty.”

Today, only one “local” team competed and that was St. Cloud Tech.

This is Tech’s first season with a trap-shooting team and they had 12 participants.

Head coach Joe Opitz hopes they will have more than 30 kids participate in the program next season.

Opitz also coaches the St. Cloud Cathedral Tap team and they will be competing on Thursday but was happy with how the first-year competitors handled themselves.

“They shot well, the pressure didn’t get to them; I think we had some good scores, some of the kids shot personal bests today.”

Ben Noble was Tech’s top scorer in their first round-of-50 with a 46; Nick Mader added a 45 and Tanner Hanson started with a 44.

Noble was in first-place among novice competitors after the first-round but did not shoot a second-round and did not medal.

Mader ended with Tech’s best score at 84; Hanson ended with an 83.

Crystal Johannes shot a 72, good enough to finish 12th among female novice shooters.

Football standout, Troy Feddema added an 83 as well and although trap-shooting is considered an individual sport he is at his best when his teammates are shooting well.

“When they are shooting well, I almost seem to shoot better because it’s always competitive; I want to do well too.”

The rest of the local schools will be as such throughout the next eight days:

Tuesday Class 2A:

No St. Cloud teams compete today but Milaca, Becker, LPGE and Paynesville all go at 8:30 am.

Milaca only had five registered varsity participants last year but still put up a score of 451 which gives them an average just over 90 but all five graduated.

Wednesday Class 3A:

Apollo shoots at 8:30 and they moved up two classes this year; the Eagles never got to compete last year due to the only rainout of competition.

Pierz-Healy goes right after them on the same trap at 10:00 am and they have a few that registered 95-97 last year and felt disappointed with their performances.

Thursday Class 4A:

Big day for local action as Kimball, SRR and Little Falls all shoot at 8:30 and Cathedral goes at 10:30.

Cathedral is coached by Joe Opitz and many of the schools commend him and actually name him as one of the influences for the area getting so many schools involved.

Friday Class 5A:

We don’t have any St. Cloud schools participating this day but Sauk Centre goes at 8:30 and Monticello at 11:00.

Sauk Centre lost one of their best marksmen, Alex Vogel right after the competition last year unexpectedly; he shot a perfect 25-25 in his last competition and ended with a 93.

Saturday and Sunday Class 6A and 7A:

KNSI will not be doing any live coverage but we will keep a close-eye on defending competition and state champion STMA that will compete at 8:30 Saturday; they scored a 492 last year.

Melrose and Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa also compete at 8:30; Melrose junior Sara Hoppe is uber-talented and was one of their highest scorers last year.

Royalton is the only local school on Sunday and they compete at 8:30.

Monday Class 8A:

This day will be another busy day for local schools as Sartell, ROCORI and Foley all compete at 8:30.

All three of the teams have very good competitors that can easily hit the 97-mark or better.

Sartell was the best local school at last year’s competition here with the score of 468 and just to tell everyone how tough this competition is that still didn’t qualify them for state.

Only the top 40 overall (regardless of class) make it to state but individuals can qualify as well.

Tuesday Class 9A:

We finish the 9-day shooting competition with Albany shooting at 8:30 and since they have 84 participants, they get 3 separate traps to themselves.

KNSI will be there throughout the rest of the competition and everyone can follow along with live updates here.