The COVID-19 pandemic kept high school trap shooters from completing a spring season that usually culminates by having thousands of fans and participants at the Alexandria Shooting Park for the championship shoot over many days in June.
The participation numbers did not reach the levels of that spring season, but the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League did complete a fall season in late November that allowed a couple local schools to compete.
More than 3,900 athletes from 139 teams registered to shoot in the fall league, and Brandon-Evansville and Minnewaska were a part of that. The league recently announced its final standings and awards list to finish off the season, and both B-E and Minnewaska had standout performers on the trap range.
The Chargers boasted four of the top shooters in their Class 1A, Conference 8 field. For the boys, Kyle Schaffran was the conference’s top shooter with a 24.3 season average out of a possible 25. Teammate Chase Holtberg was not far behind in second place in the conference at 24.2, and Hunter Koep rounded out the top three with a 23.9 average.
On the girls’ side, Katrina Buchholz was the second best shooter in the conference. Buchholz finished with a 21.2 average, behind only Emily Miner of Kingsland High School at 23.1.
Brandon-Evansville won the conference championship as a team through five weeks of competition. The Chargers totaled a final score of 6,294.5, well in front of Kingsland in second place at 5,636.5.
In total, Brandon-Evansville had six kids who finished in the top 100 of the entire league by season average. Schaffran’s 24.3 mark tied him for fourth overall, while Holtberg tied for ninth, Koep was 24th, Riley Bitzan (23.3 average) tied for 60th, and Spencer Olson (23 average) and Braydon Englund (23 average) both tied for 86th overall.
Minnewaska was third in Conference 10 this fall among a field of seven programs. The Lakers finished with a final score of 5,429, while Proctor won the league title at 8,350 and Princeton was second at 6,636.5.
The Lakers had two of the top shooters in their conference as individuals. Dustin Peterson was the third high male average at 23.6. That left him tied for 36th individually among the top 100 shooters in the entire state. Randy Peterson of Princeton shot at a 24.0 clip to win the conference high-gun honor, and Brady Zupec finished with a 23.7 average to take second.
Minnewaska’s Haley Murken was the second female shooter by average in the conference at 21.1. Allana Carlson of Proctor took home the conference’s high gun award among girls with her 22.4 average, and Brooklyn Melcher was third at 20.5.
The top overall high gun in the entire league was Ian Wheatcraft of Prior Lake with a 24.6 season average.