Interest Level High to Add Trapshooting at Owatonna High School
Monday's Owatonna School Board meeting room was jammed with students excited about the potential of adding trapshooting as a varsity sport at Owatonna High School.
Dave Schroeder is spearheading the effort. He enjoyed trapshooting as a child after being introduced to it by his grandfather. He hopes to bring the sport to today's youth in an organized and recognized manner. He says the board meeting was packed with students thanks to word-of-mouth. If approved by the school board, Schroeder believes Owatonna could easily fill a 50-person roster for the debut season. Some schools have more than 100 shooters. He is cautiously optimistic after the meeting.
Trapshooting in Minnesota began with three schools and 30 student-athletes in 2009, according to the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League, which governs the spring season. It has grown to nearly 400 high schools and more than 10,000 shooters this year. The Minnesota State High School League just hosted its third state tournament and is the first high school league in the nation to do so. The MSHSCTL hosts its own state tournament that attracted more than 7,000 shooters to Alexandria in early June. The top teams at that event were invited to shoot at the MSHSL tournament.
Trapshooting is a co-ed activity and shooters must have their gun safety certificate. The Owatonna Gun Club would be the home course for the proposed Owatonna team, according to the new activity application turned in by Schroeder. The club hosts a youth league with about 30 participants. The high school team would need to have one coach per every 10 students.
In the application it is stated that, "students and coaches will follow state law and school policy regarding shotguns and ammunition. Shotguns and ammunition are picked up at home and brought to the gun club by parents or students."
Deb McDermott-Johnson with Owatonna Community Education says the Blooming Prairie and Medford trap teams are run by community ed and the same model could develop in Owatonna. She says school board members had the same questions she had about the activity from safety to cost to management of the team. Apple Valley coach John Miller was present on Monday to help address those issues.
Schroeder says lettering, yearbook recognition and use of the Huskies mascot are all important elements of forming the program. He hopes the school board will take action by their August meeting. That would be too late to get things together for the informal fall league, according to Schroeder, but he says the wheels would go into motion to get everything in line for a spring 2017 debut.
NRHEG and Medford competed in the MSHSL-sanctioned state competition on June 25. Blooming Prairie and Triton both sponsor teams, as do nearly every Big Nine school with the exception of Owatonna and Albert Lea. During the spring season, conferences are created based on number of shooters on a team, not on a regional basis. Competitions are held virtually with scores entered at the end of each week and compared to other teams in the conference.
I have personally followed trapshooting for several years as my son's high school sponsored a team. I find it to be an exciting sport to watch and enjoy how teammates support each other. I will blog about that in the near future. In my conversations with local activity directors who schools have teams, they have very positive feelings about the sport.