(Alexandria, MN) -- Friday marked the midpoint of the 2019 Minnesota Clay Target League's Trap Shooting Championships, a nine-day tournament set to continue through Tuesday at the Alexandria Shooting Park.
Enthusiasm for and participation in the sport has resulted in the formation of nine separate classes by the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League. The State Championship Tournament in Alexandria is once again a nine day festival of competition, billed as the "World's Largest Shooting Sport Event". It's estimated that more than eight thousand athletes, representing approximately 330 high schools from around Minnesota, will compete in this year's event. The tournament has drawn large groups of spectators each of the first five days and more than 900 athletes have been competing on a daily basis in three divisions: Novice, Junior Varsity, and Varsity.
Trap Team members from Alexandria Area High School will compete on the seventh day of the tournament, which is tomorrow (Sunday). Alexandria Area is one of the schools that competed in Class 7A, Conference 2 during the spring. Four of the athletes from the Alexandria Trap Team earned All-State honors during the 2019 Spring Season, based on average scores among the top 100. Jeremy Knight averaged 24.60 out of a possible 25, tying him for sixth highest overall with two other athletes. Nicolas Witt averaged 24.20 during the regular season, tying him with six others for 24th. Several athletes have averaged a score of 24 during the spring to earn a tie for 43rd, including Alexandria's Kallista Roers. Teammate Erik Knight also carries All-State distinction, averaging 23.80.
Alexandria's team of 55 shooters is set to bust the clay targets at Trap 6B, beginning at approximately 8:30 Sunday morning. Each shooter will have two rounds of 50 targets. The group of athletes scheduled to visit the Alexandria Shooting Park on Father's Day will also include regional schools such as Benson, Montevideo, New York Mills, Wadena-Deer Creek, and Willmar.
One highlight from Friday's Varsity competition included a pair of teammates from Blaine High School that busted all 100 clay targets: Tyler Grzesiak and Andrew Heaton. They became the third and fourth Varsity athletes in the 2019 State Championships to record perfect scores. Jordan Gjerset from ECHO Charter School achieved the feat during the tournament's first day on Monday, and All-Stater Cole Girtz from Park Rapids Area busted 100 straight on Tuesday.
The three highest team scores from each Class in the Varsity division that have been recorded since the start of the tournament are noted below (day of that class competition is in parenthesis):
- Class 1A (Monday): Spring Grove 480, Grygla-Gatzke 465, ECHO Charter 464
- Class 2A (Tuesday): Park Rapids Area 484, Wheaton 481, Minnewaska Area 480
- Class 3A (Wednesday): Alden-Conger 481, Annandale 480, Wayzata 477
- Class 4A (Thursday): Hibbing 483, Hopkins 480, Irondale 475
- Class 5A (Friday): Blaine 494, Brainerd 484, United South Central (Wells) 479
This nine-day tournament also serves as the qualifier for the Minnesota State High School League's Clay Target State Tournament. The MSHSL Clay Target State Tournament offers the highest achievers in individual and team trapshooting competition an opportunity to compete and be recognized in a state tournament like all other sports sanctioned by the Minnesota State High School League. Team trophies and individual medals for the top performers will be awarded at the end of the 2019 MSHSL Clay Target State Tournament at the Minneapolis Gun Club in Prior Lake on Friday, June 21st.
Alexandria Technical and Community College is a Platinum level sponsor of this year's tournament. The Minnesota Clay Target League's State Championships attract a large number of visitors, including family members and other shooting sport enthusiasts. A large variety of food and beverage options are available for kids and spectators. More than four dozen vendors have been on hand during the tournament.
Admission is free to the Minnesota Clay Target League's Trap Shooting Championships. Barring weather delays, opening ceremonies each day start at 8 a.m., with the target busting to follow at 8:30 a.m. More information on the Minnesota Clay Target League's 2019 Trap Shooting State Championships can be accessed by clicking on this link: http://championship.mnclaytarget.com/.
Score updates are updated regularly for the Clay Target League Trap Shooting State Championships, which can be accessed at this link: https://usactgo.com/tournament/splash.php. Once you arrive at this page, check the "Pick a Tournament" drop-down menu. Then, click on "MN Trap Tournament".
The Minnesota State High School Clay Target League, as well as the voluntary and nonprofit association of public and private schools (commonly referred to as the Minnesota State High School League, or MSHSL) provided information for this report.