By Kip Young
On July 12th, 10 members of the The Bulldog Clay Target team took off for the Michigan Trap Association headquarters in Mason for four days of action-packed clay shooting at the first-ever USA Clay Target National Championships. It was attended by over 2,200 student athletes from 14 states.
Included on the Vicksburg team were Tyler Sands, Jeffrey Hoagg, Tanner White, Owen Moberley, Trevor Young, Glen Rhyner, Kody Fruehauf, Andrew Pratt, JP Fritz and Trevor McClish. To qualify for the national event, athletes had to average 20.0/50 targets per round during the five competition weeks.
Athletes spent the first day honing skills on the practice fields. Before the day was over, more than 1,500 practice rounds of trap were shot by the visiting athletes, more than 37,500 targets thrown in a single day, a new Michigan Trap Association Mason facility record.
On July 13, team competition began with Vicksburg entering two five-member squads into the field of 180 schools from across the country. Both squads competed, with each member shooting 100 clay targets. When the dust settled, the squad of Sands, Hoagg, White, Moberley and Young finished 42nd with a team score of 460/500. The squad of Rhyner, Fruehauf, Pratt, Fritz and McClish finished 123rd with a score of 432/500. Squads had to be in the top 80 to move on to Sunday’s team final.
Nine Vicksburg athletes competed in the individual competition including Sands, Hoagg, White, Moberley, Young, Rhyner, Pratt, Fritz, and McClish. Vicksburg advanced four shooters into Sunday’s individual final, 113th Rhyner (97/100 R40), 165th Hoagg (96/100 R65), 321st Sands (95/100 R1), 345th White (94/100 R24).
On Sunday, four of Vicksburg’s athletes competed in the individual final in the morning. Competition was stiff with three athletes, none from Vicksburg, shooting a perfect 200/200 and ending the competition in a shoot off with around 1,000 people watching.
Vicksburg’s four athletes finished the day with a solid showing with Rhyner in 252nd place with a 189/200, White in 319th place with a 186/200, Hoagg in 381st place with a 181/200, and Sands in 398th place with a 179/200. Sands suffered a gun malfunction in the final round of the individual competition.
In the afternoon team competition, the Vicksburg team of Sands, Hoagg, White, Moberley, and Young shot 462/500 to finish in 46th place with a total score of 922/1000. The team fought the afternoon heat to finish strong.
The Vicksburg Clay Target Team is a member of USA Clay Target and the Michigan HS Clay Target League. The team competes in the fall and spring seasons and is open to students in grades 6-12 enrolled in Vicksburg Community Schools.