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Trapshooting sees increase in teams, numbers
April 26, 2019

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Students from Rugby and Towner-Granville-Upham High Schools have begun season practices for the increasingly popular North Dakota State High School Clay Target League.

The schools formed a co-op team to participate in the trap shooting program three years ago, according to Head Coach Randy Knain.

"This is the fifth year (for the high school clay target shooting program in North Dakota), and they started with four schools," Knain noted. "We didn't find out about (the program) until the second year, and then the second year, we were too late. So, this is our third season. We started in 2016. "When we joined, there were 39 schools," Knain added. "Now, there are 58 schools."

Knain indicated the Rugby co-op team began with a handful of students, and the number of participants has increased to 29.

"We went up a few from last year," he said. "I think we're going to be leveling off at that 30 number."

Knain said the co-ed team ends their season at a statewide meet, which takes place near Fargo the weekend of June 15-16. The Rugby team competes in a conference with four other schools.

Reading from a list, Knain said, "We shoot against these: Berthold, Bishop Ryan, Sargent Central, Surrey and Wahpeton."

Knain said Wahpeton was a new addition to the group, reflecting the increase in the sport's popularity.

Rugby High team member Kyla Radomski said, "It's awesome to see so many kids getting involved with this." The senior added, "This is my third year on the team. It's fun."

Radomski said she plans to continue trap shooting after she graduates. I have been (a member of the North Dakota Trapshooting Association) for the past three years as well."

Assistant Coach Vince Mattern, who works with the teens along with Assistant Coach Scott Kraft, said he's seen the program expand in the three years he's been coaching.

"That's the way we want it," Mattern said and smiled.

Mattern said trap shooting teaches high school team members important things: "Safety, not to be afraid of guns; guns don't hurt people. They've just got to get used to them, and they learn hands-on, so they learn not to be scared of them."

Team member and RHS freshman Cordell Kraft said he was glad to be back for another season.

"Our team won varsity at state last year," Kraft indicated. "This season is looking good. We've got a lot of good kids this year. I'm looking forward to the remainder of the season. This is the second week we've been shooting."

Kraft said the team was working on "reserve scores" last week.

"If there's a week with bad weather and we can't get out and shoot, we take scores from our reserve score week," he explained. "And after the reserve score week, we have five score weeks. The reserve score week is where everybody gets a score, so we can use those scores. It's like a backup."

Kraft said he's noticed "a few more" teammates this year.

"The first year, we started out with 18 or 19 kids; last year, I think we had 28 or 29, and this year, I think we have a little over 30," he noted.

Like his teammates, Kraft said he looked forward to the state tournament in June.

"That's always fun to go down there and compete, and you get to know a lot of people from other towns," Kraft said. "There gets to be a lot of people there. I think last year, there was over 800 kids at the state shoot. They split it off over two or three days; I think it was two. This year, it's going to be three."

When asked if he planned to continue shooting in the clay target league through the rest of his years in high school, Kraft answered, "You bet!"

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