Raiders take 2nd at state trapshooting tournament
The newest letter sport at Hastings High School is now one of the school's most successful sports.
At the state trapshooting tournament two weekends ago, the top Hastings team placed second. Hastings also had the state champion, Brendan McCabe, who earned the honors of Top Gun.
All of this was quite an accomplishment given the fact that this was just the second year the team from Hastings has been in competition.
"It all went so phenomenally well," said one of the team's coaches, Troy Weathers. "We had such a great year."
Hastings had 85 students apply to be on the team this spring, and that number was trimmed to about 60 based on grade level. That is up from 38 last year.
During the regular season, Hastings finished third in its conference.
The story of the state tournament individually speaking was McCabe, who will be a senior this fall.
He missed his first two clay targets, but then quickly settled down and hit 98 straight to force a six-way shoot-off for the state title.
He then went on to hit 45 more in a row.
"I think he just had the opening jitters," head coach Earl Robinson said. "Then he just focused. We said just break one at a time and go from there. That's what he did."
At the year-end banquet the following Monday, McCabe hit 50 straight targets.
Hastings placed second in the meet behind St. Michael-Albertville. There were 870 shooters who competed at the meet.
Several other shooters had strong days.
Among them were:
Eli Robinson, 97; Sam Weber, 96; Justin Baker, 95; Matthew Litschke, 95; Bryan Kaul-Van, 94; Jacob Robinson, 94; Michael Woodword, 93; Garrett Tuin, 92; Andy Walt, 92; Nick Holm, 89; Harry Sanders, 89; Lucas Ratgen, 88; Andrew Wester, 88; Cole Klaus, 87; William McBeath, 87; Haley Berg, 86; John Siebenaler, 81; Joe Wright, 81; Nick Girgen, 77.
In the junior varsity competition, Hastings finished third overall.
Here are the scores from the junior varsity team.
Max Baldwin, 94; Matthew Blount, 89; Dylan Litschke, 89; John Schmitz, 89; Dmitri Wagner, 89; William Caturia, 84; Nathan Holm, 84; Joe Kiernan, 84; Will Bentson, 82; Alex Franzen, 82; Joshua Fleischaker, 81; Michael Wardell, 81; Cody Johnson, 78; Theo Kranz, 77; Jacob Bloomstrand, 76; Jacob Johnson, 75; Joe Bond, 74; Joshua Bowron, 74; Ben Route, 74; Justin Hedman, 71; Connor Kusant, 70; Ben Bloomstrand, 66; Shelby Baker, 51.
In the novice division, Rachel Stancer-Prokop finished first for female High Gun.
Among the highlights this year were the jerseys that Hastings wore during meets. Sam Weber designed the jerseys and got help from a number of fellow shooters. The coaches approved the design and they were printed up for the team.
"We're still getting comments about those," Weathers said. "They looked so good."
There were 12 volunteer coaches who helped out this year. Coaches, in addition to Robinson and Weathers, were Wayne Weathers, Mark Holm, Pete Soukup, Dan Riveness, Gene Groebner, Mark Woodward, Blake Kiernan, Darin Berg, Don Baldwin and Don Adams.
Both Robinson and Weathers said the support from the community and sponsors has made the team's success a possibility. The Mississippi Longtail chapter of Pheasants Forever has been a big help, as has the South St. Paul Rod and Gun Club, where the team does its regular shooting.
"Last year, when Earl and I started this team, we had one week to put the entire team together," Weathers said. "This year, we had great planning. We had great support from the community. We had fundraising that was successful, and local donors. We started the team off this year in a really good position, and the program is extremely well supported by Mike Johnson and Tom Johnson from the high school. They're very encouraging."
Weathers said the team is hoping to be considered a varsity sport by the time the 2014 season rolls around.
Coaches plan to meet in December or January to begin planning for next year. More students and more coaches are being sought. Anyone seeking more information can call Weathers at Provincial Bank, 651-480-3002 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"The sport is here to stay," Weathers said. "It's the fastest growing sport in the state."