Blasting into the OHS Clay Target Team Season


7th grader Jackson Davis in practice taking aim before shooting.

Shelby Born, Writer

As the spring season comes to a close, the OHS Clay Target team continues to work hard. The team has 88 athletes, making it the largest team at OHS. With this many athletes, the athletes must be responsible for showing up on time and making sure they have proper equipment. There are 24 assistant coaches that help manage the large team. 

The sport is simple to understand but much harder to do well. Each shooter moves through a rotation of five positions with five shots at each station. They get set, say pull and a clay target goes flying into the air. They have to get lined up and shoot at the target. Head Coach Mr. Mike Kingland said, “It looks easy when you just watch it. But it’s not and a lot of times the struggles you know, with new athletes, is a lot of fundamentals.” Everything from foot placement and learning how to find the “birdie” before shooting are all very important to be able to do the sport properly. 

Clay Target, or Trap Shooting, is Minnesota’s fastest growing sport, with over 12,000 students in the sport. Every year, the team’s top athletes head up to Alexandria for the Minnesota Championships. There are nine classes and each class takes one day to shoot. This year, they are expecting 8,000 to 9,000 students. On what her favorite part of the season is, Junior Anna Youngquist said, “Alexandria, when we all go up there to shoot together. Because we all get to be there together.” As the team continues to grow and expand, the sport itself will grow as well. 

The sport is mostly individual, but it’s a community where athletes can support their teammates. Kingland said, “It’s you out there. You know, basically, you’re competing with yourself.” The athletes have to be on top of their game, and their coaches are there to guide and push their athletes to improve.