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Championship Trap Shoot: Osakis qualifies for state with second-place finish

Osakis' Tyler Young (left) and Austyn Griesert both shot a 47 out of 50 at the Class 2A Minnesota State High School Clay Target League's Trap Shooting Championship to lead the Silverstreaks to a second-place finish among 46 programs. (Eric Morken | Osakis Review)1 / 3
Osakis' Matthew Buffington takes aim at a target during Tuesday's Class 2A championship at the Alexandria Shooting Park. Buffington shot a 44 to help the Silverstreaks secure a second-place finish as a team. (Eric Morken | Echo Press)2 / 3
Osakis shooters compete at the Class 2A championship at the Alexandria Shooting Park on Tuesday. (Eric Morken | Osakis Review)3 / 3

The Osakis trap shooting team added more shooters to their program this season to move from the Class 1A to the Class 2A level among the nine classes of competition.

Even competing against some bigger programs, the Silverstreaks still qualified for their second straight state tournament at the Minneapolis Gun Club in Prior Lake on June 24.

Osakis did that by finishing second among the 46 Class 2A teams that competed at the Alexandria Shooting Park on Tuesday during the second day of the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League’s Trap Shooting Championship.

The Silverstreaks finished with an overall score of 228 out of a possible 250. Only Brandon-Evansville was better with a 235. St. James (226), Tartan (224), Frazee-Vergas (224) and Mabel-Canton (223) joined them in qualifying for state.

“I felt really good about this because we’ve been practicing for quite a while and been putting up some pretty impressive scores throughout all the shooters,” Osakis’ Austyn Griesert said. “We all shot really well today.”

Griesert, who will be a senior this fall, and Tyler Young, a junior, paved the way for Osakis as both shot a 47. Griesert got into a rhythm and didn’t break from it shot after shot.

“You got to keep doing the same thing,” he said. “Mounting it in the exact same spot, and it will reward you very well.”

Tuesday’s competition was delayed three hours because of the heavy rains that came through Alexandria in the morning. Shooters also shot just one round of 50 instead of the 100 clays all nine classes are scheduled to shoot.

The rain moved through the area, but the winds stayed at near 20 miles per hour from the east. That provided an additional challenge, but the top shooters dealt with it accordingly.

“I was kind of nervous when I saw the wind and how fast it was blowing,” Young said. “Once you get that first bird and see how they’re flying, you can keep going with it. The wind was kind of dipping it for me a little bit at the end, but I just shot a little quicker and hit them really well.”

The top five scores are used to tally the team score for each program. Nate Hirte shot a 46 for Osakis’ third score, while Matthew Buffington and Brandon Hetland each shot 44s to round out the team’s scoring.

The Trap Shooting Championship in Alexandria features nine days of competition from June 12-20. It’s billed as the world’s largest shooting sport event with almost 7,500 student athletes from more than 300 schools expected to compete.

The event serves as a qualifier for the MSHSL State Tournament on June 24. Osakis qualified from the Class A championship field a year ago.

“That was an awesome experience,” Griesert said. “The layout of the fields (in Prior Lake) were quite a bit different, just because they had skeet towers right next to you and sound bouncing off that kind of messes with your mind a little bit. Out here, it’s just flat. There, they have trees everywhere.”

The Silverstreaks have 27 athletes on their team. Griesert said there are an additional 27 seventh graders who have shown interest in joining the program next spring.

“That’s going to bump us up probably two classes, so we’ll be in Class 4A, I believe,” Griesert said.

That means shooting against bigger programs in conference and championship competitions. Osakis adjusted well to that move from the 1A to the 2A level this season. A second straight state tournament appearance gives them confidence that they are on the right track as a group.

“It’s nice because everyone has been working really hard at it,” Young said. “We’re all a team.”

The teams that qualify from all nine classes for the state tournament through the championship in Alexandria compete against each other for one team title at the Minneapolis Gun Club. Each team consists of five athletes that shoot, with each bringing two alternates as well.  

The Silverstreaks finished 35th out of the 38 teams that competed there a year ago. They are excited to see if they can improve on that a second time around.

“We weren’t last, but we also didn’t have the elite shooters going because they were all off at baseball,” Griesert said. “Now, we have more shooters to choose from.”

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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