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Brandon-Evansville’s Colton Sherman is all smiles as he poses with his second-place medal at the MSHSL Clay Target state tournament on Saturday at the Minneapolis Gun Club. (Contributed)

Sharp shooting Sherman

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outdoors Alexandria, 56308
Alexandria Minnesota 225 7th Ave E
P.O. Box 549
56308

It is often said that trapshooting is a sport that anyone can succeed in, and Colton Sherman of Brandon-Evansville is a testament to that.

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There are not many sports where an eighth grader can go toe-to-toe with athletes up to five years older than them at a state competition and come out on top. That’s exactly what Sherman did this past Saturday as the 13-year-old shot a personal-best 98 out of 100 clays to take second in the individual state tournament at the Minneapolis Gun Club.

“It’s really not an issue,” Sherman said of going against older competitors. “One thing I’ve found out about this is that older kids in this program, they’re usually really accepting to younger talents, and they’ll sometimes take you under their wing and give you tips and things like that.”

Sherman and the rest of his Brandon-Evansville teammates made the team portion of the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League’s state tournament and finished 21st out of 24 teams. They battled through some miserable weather conditions with gusting winds and rain in the morning on Saturday.

Sherman led the Chargers by shooting a 94 during the team portion of the event. The weather calmed down a little bit by the afternoon’s individual state competition, which featured the top 100 shooters in Minnesota based on average per round through the regular season.

Sherman qualified for the state shoot with a 22.4 average. He got into a zone during his afternoon shoot. He hit 24 of 25 through his first two rounds before powdering his final 50 clays to walk off the range with a smile on his face.

“I’m still not quite sure what I did,” Sherman said on Monday morning after having a couple days to let it sink in. “I’m still a little in awe about it because I’m used to shooting a 23 average, not 98 percent, but I was pretty excited. I think my mom was a little more excited than I was. When I found out I busted 98, I was more excited about that than when I found out I took second.”

Sherman didn’t let any doubt creep into his mind after missing his first target. Athletes at this event know they need to be almost perfect to stand a chance of winning. Gust Lundeen of Dassel-Cokato won the individual state shoot after powdering 99.

“You can’t get overconfident,” Sherman said. “But once you concentrate, you know you can hit every clay out of the house.”

Perhaps it should come as no surprise that Sherman performed so well at the state shoot with the work he put in leading up to the tournament. He said he normally practices by shooting two four-round sessions a week.

Last week, he upped the ante knowing he would need to be at his best on Saturday. Sherman shot more than 20 rounds and two cases of ammo.

“I think it helped enormously because I was also practicing in conditions that weren’t the greatest,” he said. “And for team and individuals, I wasn’t shooting in the greatest conditions.”

Sherman also plays football at Brandon-Evansville. He said he loves the challenge of trapshooting and how much it can boost a person’s confidence and self-esteem after a good shoot like he had on Saturday.

He should have plenty of confidence over the final four years of his high school trapshooting career. Sherman set the bar high for himself after his showing at state, and there might be more to come for a young shooter who has lofty goals in a sport that continues to grow in popularity.

“My goal overall is to maybe get a college scholarship out of this,” Sherman said. “Then maybe after college to go to a team USA for trapshooting, Olympics-wise.”

2014 MSHSL CLAY TARGET STATE TOURNAMENT

BRANDON-EVANSVILLE TEAM STANDINGS – 21st place; Cody Lund – 86; McKenon Plaster – 77; Jake Nohre – 88; Jordan Lund – 72; Sherman – 94

INDIVIDUAL STATE TOURNAMENT – Sherman – second place, 98 out of 100

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