Hastings enters its second season in state's trapshooting league
The fastest-growing sport in Hastings is one you may not have heard much about. It's the trapshooting team, formed last year.
This year, some 85 students came out for the team. The coaches were forced to trim the roster to 62 shooters, ranking them on their age, leaving some 23 middle schoolers having to wait for their turn with the team.
"The biggest problem we have is having the space to shoot," coach Troy Weathers said.
Weathers said that since 2010, the league has grown by 341 percent across the state. Across the state, 3,400 students from 114 high schools are competing.
The team shoots at the South St. Paul Rod and Gun Club twice a week.
The team gets support from the Mississippi Longtails chapter of Pheasants Forever and MidwayUSA Foundation.
The sport is now recognized as a letter sport at the high school, and in June 2014, the first Minnesota State High School League sanctioned state tournament will be held. Next year the sport will be recognized as a sport like any other, making Minnesota the first state to have a high school sanctioned state tournament.
The group in Hastings was started by Earl Robinson and Weathers.
They are assisted this year by 11 fellow coaches, Wayne Weathers, Mark Holm, Pete Soukop, Dan Riveness, Gene Groebner, Mark Woodward, Blake Kiernan, Darin Berg and Don Baldwin.
Weathers said several students have expressed to him how thankful they are that something like this exists for them.
"The most popular aspect of the sport is that it doesn't require an athletic specimen to be able to participate," he said. "We have a lot of kids who have come up and said, 'Thanks for doing this. I wanted to play football, but I didn't think I was big enough or fast enough.'
"It's a great self-esteem builder."
Here are the members of the team this year:
Justin Baker, Shelby Baker, Max Baldwin, Will Bentson, Haley Berg, Ben Bloomstrand, Jacob Bloomstrand, Matthew Blount, Matthew Boe, Joe Bond, Joshua Bowron, William Caturia, Dan Eggert, Joshua Fleischaker, Alex Franzen, Danny Fritze, Tate Gahnz, Nick Girgen, Gabby Goettl, Justin Hedman, Grace Holm, Nathan Holm, Nick Holm, Cody Johnson, Jacob Johnson, Bryan Kaul-Van Reese, Joe Kiernan, Cole Klaus, Theo Kranz, Connor Kusant, Sam Latt, Luke Leahy, Mandy Leifeld, Dylan Litschke, Matthew Litschke, William McBeath, Brendan McCabe, Gage Muench, Amanda Pass, Lucas Ratgen, John Ries, Eli Robinson, Jacobin Robinson, Ben Route, Harry Sanders, John Schmitz, John Siebenaler, Rachel Stancer-Prokop, Amelia Strauss, David Truax, Garrett Tuin, Dmitri Wagner, Elli Walker, Andy Walt, Michael Wardell, Katie Weathers, Maddie Weathers, Charlie Weber, Sam Weber, Andrew Wester, Michael Woodword and Joe Wright.