More Teen Athletes Choosing Trapshooting Over Hockey in Minnesota
Jeff Munter, a senior at Tartan High School, is a proud member of the school’s new trapshooting team,
“It’s quite underrated,” said Munter. “This is just a place to come and enjoy yourself.”
Tartan shooters practice at the Oakdale Gun Club in Lake Elmo, along with high school teams from Stillwater, Hill-Murray in Maplewood and North in North St. Paul. Ted Nemetz, the club’s trap director, is impressed at how quickly trap shooting has flourished in the state.
“The sport just blossomed,” said Nemetz.
Trapshooting is now the fastest-growing high school sport in the state – with more participants than hockey – and in Minnesota, that’s a big deal. The Minnesota Clay Target League, which manages teams and tournaments, has 343 teams statewide and at 9 years young, already has 11,000 participants and is expecting 900 more teenagers to join the sport in 2017
“It is crazy!” said John Nelson, vice president of the Minnesota Clay Target League.
“It gives an opportunity to people who are not athletic,” said Tartan senior Zach Drayna. “It’s more about nerves than anything else.”
Tartan coach Ken Balfanz attributes part of the sport’s popularity to the fact that all members of the team compete together, regardless of their skill. Out of 25 possible targets, Balfanz said, “We have kids who shoot in the single digits and kids who get perfect scores.”
Although the sport is co-ed, extremely safe, and not physically demanding as other high school sports, Munter says there’s a much simpler explanation for its success,“It’s growing because people realize that it’s awesome!”
Yes, yes it is.