Kyle Bartz

Shooting for the NRHEG trap team, Waseca’s Kyle Bartz was one of the top shooters in Minnesota during the 2015 season. Clay target leagues have become the fastest growing spring sports season, according to the Minnesota State High School League. (County News file photo)

Nearly 12,000 student participants from 349 high school teams are participating in the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League’s 2018 spring season, which began April 1.

The 11,936 participant numbers are the highest ever for the state, according to League officials.

“This League continues to be one of the largest high school sports in the state of Minnesota,” said Jim Sable, President of the MNSHSCTL. “Such high participation shows the continued demand for alternative high school activities related to Minnesota’s longstanding outdoor traditions.”

The League’s co-ed and adaptive nature are key attractions to high schools in Minnesota, Sable said. The League is fully Title IX compliant with both male and female athletes competing on the same team. Additionally, it’s an adaptive sport, which allows students with physical disabilities to take part.

Upon completion of the spring league’s regular season, all student-athletes are invited to participate in individual and team competitions at the 2018 MNSHSCTL Trap Shooting Championship. The event — the world’s largest shooting sport event with about 8,000 competitors expected — is scheduled for June 11-19 at the Alexandria Shooting Park, while the Skeet Championship will be held at the Minneapolis Gun Club in Prior Lake June 20-21.

The trap shooting season culminates with the state tournament presented by the Minnesota State High School League on June 22 in Prior Lake. The state tournament provides the opportunity for the highest qualifying individuals and teams from the MNSHSCTL to compete for the ultimate recognition as MSHSL state champions. The MSHSL was the first state high school interscholastic athletic association in the United States to provide support and recognition for a high school trap shooting state tournament.

The Minnesota State High School Clay Target League attracts student-athletes that have earned their firearm safety certification to participate in shooting sports while creating a “virtual” competition among high school teams throughout Minnesota at no cost to the schools. Family travel costs are minimal because practice and competition are conducted at a shooting range near the school’s location. The League is also the safest sport in high school, with no reported injuries since the inception of the League in 2001, officials say.

Conferences are determined by team size rather than geographic location for fair competition. Athletes earn True Team® scoring points as determined by their performance and ranking against all athlete scores within their team’s conference. The team score and overall standings are calculated and posted on the League’s website. Athletes and their families may track their individual and team performance on their computer via the League’s website, and by the Shooter Performance Tracker® mobile app.

The Minnesota State High School Clay Target League is an affiliate of the USA High School Clay Target League, a 501©(3) non-profit organization. The League is an independent provider of shooting sports as an extracurricular co-ed and adaptive activity for high schools and students in grades 6 through 12. The organization’s priorities are safety, fun, and marksmanship – in that order.

Nationwide, nearly 22,000 student-athletes representing over 800 school-approved teams participate in the League.

Reach Dana Melius at 507-931-8567.

Regional Managing Editor, Adams Publishing Group--Southern Minnesota/Western Division: St. Peter Herald, Waseca County News, Le Center Leader, Le Sueur News-Herald

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