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Red Wing trap team firing off to a fast start

Trap shooters stand five in a line, each taking five shots at their station and then rotate to the right. One round consists of 25 shots per athlete. Submitted photo1 / 2
Colin Johnson (left) and Hunter Westerberg stand in ready position for their shots at clay targets. The Red Wing trap team got out in the field for the first time this year on April 8. Submitted photo2 / 2

Poor weather has delayed the start to nearly every spring sport this year, but one has continued on its scheduled pace. The Red Wing trap team opened its season last Sunday at the Hampton Sportsmen's Club.

That is where Red Wing will do all of its shooting this year since that is the nearest range set up for trap and skeet shooting.

In just its third year of existence, the Red Wing team has continued to see growth in the sport with a strong mix of returning and new athletes.

"We have 50 kids out this year, eight girls and an age range from grades six through 12," head coach Scott Kosek said. "About half our team is returning from last year but we also have a lot of new kids."

The best shooter from last season, ninth-grader Chloe Struss, returns with hopes on improving her season average of 21.3 a year ago. Early returns this year have shown that its a realistic goal with her already shooting a 24 in the first week.

Senior Sam Kelly was the team's best shooter in the first week in action, and senior Jason Haglund and junior Cole Krie also appear to be set for a big year.

"We noticed right away that a lot of our upperclassmen came to the first practice and they had been shooting a lot on their own," Kosek said. "We have a lot of young kids that are doing very, very well.

"Already we've had many kids shooting 23s and 24s. To shoot this well so early in the season, we're very excited about where the kids will end up."

The end goal is a trip to Alexandria, Minn., for what has become the world's largest trap shooting event. Kosek hopes the early weeks of the trap-shooting season will allow the athletes a chance to get better acquainted with their shotguns before the competition weeks begin. In May, Red Wing will begin to compete with other schools — with scores setting up any qualifying athlete's rankings for the state meet. Last year Red Wing didn't have anyone qualify for the state meet, but Kosek expects that to change this year.

"You have to be in the top 100 to shoot in the Minnesota State High School League event," he said. "Last year we had nobody. This year, I think we are going to have some get there."

Since the trap team isn't school-sponsored, it relies on volunteers and sponsors to get through the season. While that would seem to present a significant obstacle, Kosek said the community has rallied around the team and provided a lot of support.

"Our parent and coach volunteers are amazing," he said. "Without all the parents jumping in to help, we wouldn't succeed at all. We also have around 15 sponsors from the community that provide funds for us."

Although funding is important for every sport, trapshooting adds another layer to it since it's a consumable-based activity. During its first weekend of shooting, Red Wing went through 2,500 shotgun shells and clay pigeons. Kosek estimates that by the end of the season the team will have gone through 30,000 shells and clay targets.

If you are interested in joining or learning more about the trap team, contact Kosek at kosek.scott@gmail.com.

Jake Pfeifer

Jake Pfeifer is a sports reporter and outdoors editor for RiverTown Multimedia. Previously, he worked at Detroit Lakes Newspapers.

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