Members of the 2021 Pine City High School trap shooting team have many highlights to look back upon as the season draws to a close.
By the numbers
With 90 participants, the team was the third largest high school trap shooting team in the state, and fifth largest in the nation.
Thirty-one members of the team went to the state tournament.
The team awarded 29 letters to deserving athletes.
For the 2021 Spring Trap League, 324 high school teams are assigned to 42 conferences across 9 classes based on team size. The team will compete in the state’s biggest team division, 9A, on Tuesday, June 22, in Alexandria, Minnesota.
Nationwide, almost 28,000 student athletes participated in USA Clay Target League activities. There are 1,308 teams in 34 states. Teams are coached by over 7,800 volunteers. Pine City has 27 coaches working with team members.
A unique sport
Coach George Johnson, citing the league’s PULL Magazine, noted that studies show that students who participate in school activities gain a wealth of benefits to their academics, self-esteem and future careers.
“Not everyone is built to play sports, play an instrument, or participate in other activities offered in high school,” Johnson said. “Trap shooting provides a unique participation opportunity. Nationwide, trap is the one and only school based extra-curricular activity for 40 percent of trap athletes. Participation in trap shooting gives them a chance to interact with other students, develop lifelong friendships, and learn the value of teamwork, cooperation, and dedication. And there are no benchwarmers in trap. Everyone can participate.”
He also noted that the students join trap for many reasons.
“They are encouraged by family, teammates, coaches, and from within,” Johnson said. “They form great relationships with all these volunteer coaches—coaches who give up their Sunday afternoons to spend time teaching young adults how to shoot trap, but more importantly, how to have fun at a difficult sport, and how to succeed even when you don’t hit every shot in life. They are teaching kids how to succeed at living.”
Johnson said that Pine City’s strong trap team program would not be possible without the efforts of many in the community.
“We are grateful for the support of Pine City Schools Community Education as well as many local organizations and individuals who contribute to the team,” he said. “We are not funded by the high school and depend on donations as well as participation fees paid by parents of our kids. We are able to keep the cost of participating down for parents because we are able to get donations to cover the high cost of ammunition and team supplies. The Pine County Thunderin’ Toms serve as a fiscal agent for the team, and they are largely responsible for organizing the trap team in Pine City. But much of our funding comes from local organizations and individuals. The average cost in the state is around $300 per athlete, but we are able to keep costs for Pine City parents at $160 thanks to so many generous donors.”
Top Guns - Top 20 Averages
Jacob Goodner 20.6, Ryan Plasek 20.5, Ryan Cummings 20.1, Peyton Smetana 19.9, Cody Patzoldt 19.3, Ethan Doenz 18.7, Blake Hall 17.7, Troy Schmidt 17.5t, Levi Dee 17.5t, Caden Fedder 17.5t, Oscar Gribauval 17.4, Tyler Mohr 17.1, Billy Brown 17, Jacob Stuckey 16.9, Josh Brinker 16.6, Madison LeMon 16.4, Armani Johnston16.3t, Parker Sell 16.3t, Ken Goff 16.3t, Jared Carpenter 16.1