Struss takes second at state trap meet
The Red Wing trap team concluded its season on Saturday, June 16, at the state trap shooting meet in Alexandria, Minn. With only 18 athletes receiving medals out of over 850 competitors, hardware was not easy to secure. But, Red Wing had a number of athletes outperform their season averages and for Chloe Struss, it meant a second-place showing, giving the trap team its lone medal of the meet.
"This is our third year as a team and it's interesting seeing how much growth we've had since 2016," said Red Wing trap team head coach Scott Kosek. "Chloe Struss, won our league for girls and she finished second at the state competition. She shot a 96, her best day in her life."
Although Struss was the only member of the team to earn a medal, she was not the best performer of the day for Red Wing. That honor went to Gage Senty, who shot 97 out of 100 to tie for sixth place in the Class 6A varsity standings.
In addition, Red Wing had two other athletes break the 90 mark with varsity shooter Samuel Delain hitting 91 out of 100 to tie for 77th place and junior varsity shooter Isaac Kosek hitting 92, tying for seventh place.
Other top scores for Red Wing included Jessica Frechette as the top female JV shooter with 71, and Carson Anway and Allie Smith as the top male and female novice shooters with scores of 69 and 30, respectively.
As a team, Red Wing finished with 465 points, good enough for 10th place.
"It's a lot of fun to watch the kids grow," Kosek said. "For example, our best shooter (at state), Gage Senty, shot 97. When I looked back in 2016, he was shooting 14 or 15 out of 25. Now he's averaging 24.25."
Kosek said that although the team didn't win any plaques for placing in the top three as a team, it didn't really bother him because that wasn't the goal going into the season.
"The goal is to outperform yourself and improve and be focused," he said. "I was very proud of how everyone handled themselves. Almost all the kids shot above their season average. They handled the pressure with grace and were very focused."
Individual goals varied from athlete to athlete, but Kosek and the rest of the volunteer coaching staff honored some of its shooters with plaques in recognition of achievements made this year at the team's annual awards banquet.
Jessica Frechette and Ellis Petersmeyer were honored as the most improved shooters, Sam Kelly had the best 12th-grade shooting average (22.0), Caleb Malyon had the best in 11th grade (22.38), Gage Senty in 10th grade (23.0), Chloe Struss in ninth grade (22.8), Colin Johnson in eighth grade (16.9), Hannah Kosek in seventh grade (19.7), and Isaac Kosek in sixth grade (17.3).
The growth in the team is a testament to the progress Red Wing has made in the three years in existence. Kosek said that the best shooters on the team shoot a lot, but the camaraderie of the team gives it a fun atmosphere that allows kids to participate, hang out with friends and get better in a no-pressure environment.
"I've talked to a few of the athlete's parents since the state meet and the kids are excited about their performances over the weekend," Kosek said. "That's what happens when you have success, you start looking at how you can take it to the next level."
For Red Wing, the next level might not necessarily mean placing in the top three next year at the state meet, but continuing with the constant progress the team has made in its first three years.
Kosek said there are a number of reasons on why there has been consistent progress. One being the fun atmosphere the sport provides, another being the mental toughness, and also the community support surrounding the team — including 15 local businesses that help fund the team through the season.
One thing is for certain, however, the excitement around the sport is increasing each year, and that is something Kosek and the rest of Red Wing's coaching staff are happy to embrace.