By Mark Blentlinger
The Golden Eagles trap shooting team finished the regular season in 4th place in its eight-team conference with a total season score of 6,585 targets hit. Out of 7,188 state shooters, Caden Fritts placed 30th, hitting 235 targets out of a possible 250. Hope Wright finished 70th with a total of 231 hits.
The conference includes Napoleon, Memphis, Chippewa, Unity Christian, Harbor Beach, Fruitport and Ulby Junior-Senior high schools. Each of the teams shoot at their own range, then upload their scores to the Michigan State High School Clay Target League.
The conference is part of the USA Clay Target League, which has more than 34,000 students nationwide, including those 7,188 from Michigan. Schoolcraft started its team in 2021 with 17 student athletes. The Golden Eagles had 22 this spring.
The team competes in the fall and spring, and the league is open to students in grade 6 through 12. The league is set up based on a “true team scoring system” in which everyone participates and adds to the team’s score. Age and gender have no factor on an athlete’s shooting time or scoring ability.
Currently the team has 10 of the 22 shooting at the varsity level where athletes need to have a 19.0 average overall: 190/250 targets hit across the season. Many of these young shooters practice daily. Fritts is the team’s number 1 shooter for the boys and Wright, for the girls, is reigning state champion. Wright has earned a $70,000 scholarship to the University of Olivet to continue shooting at the college level.
In the conference top 25 shooters, Fritts finished in 3rd place. Also in the top 25 were Ethan DenHartigh, Thomas Rutkoskie, Ayden Remmert, along with Wright and Addison Smith. Wright was the only Golden Eagle to hit 50 straight targets. Shooters with 25 straight were Fritts, Ethan DenHartigh, Rutkoskie and Ayden Remmert.
The team will send 11 shooters to the state shooting competition on June 11th in Mason. Based on the season averages, Ethan Denhartigh, Fritts, Rutkoskie, Addison Smith, and Ayden Remmert have been invited to participate at the national level at the same venue in July.
The team is self-funded and relies on some generous donors that supply the team with targets and ammunition. Their sponsors include A&B Brush Farms, Roger Sullivan DDS, Lakes Area Conservation Club, Lazy Man BBQ, Michigan Cat, “No Hassle Detassel.” Dick Beatty Barber Shop, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Roberts Excavating, Shamrock Leathers, Schoolcraft Athletic Boosters Club, Walther Farms, Wedel’s Nursery and Words Matter Consulting.
By Mark Blentlinger