Osakis’ Matthew Ramey busted his final clay of the day on Tuesday afternoon and turned around, put his fist in the air and cracked a smile at his coaches as he and his teammates walked off the shooting line.
That final clay wrapped up a perfect 25-of-25 round for Ramey. It was the first perfect round of the season for an Osakis shooter in the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League.
“It was really surprising,” Ramey said. “It was a great way to send off my senior year. I just went out there, shot and had fun. I felt like I was in a zone. I put the gun in the same space every time and just kept on going.”
Ramey and nine other Osakis teammates shot on Tuesday as part of the Class 2A field. They are part of more than 300 teams and 6,500 student athletes shooting at the MSHSCTL’s nine-day championship from June 14-22 at the Alexandria Shooting Park.
Each class, from 1A through 9A, has its own day of competition where teams are vying for spots at the June 25 state championship at the Minneapolis Gun Club if they finish among the top 40 programs overall in the championship. Individuals are also shooting for top honors in novice, junior varsity and varsity divisions.
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It takes a nearly perfect day to be the top gun at the championship. Bradley Bible (Becker), Ryan Coleman (North Branch), Holdyn Willford (Lanesboro), Daniel McHenry (Groves Academy) and Dylan Evitts (Climax-Fisher) all shot 99 out of 100 at the Class 1A competition on June 14 to tie for high gun.
Wyatt Olson (Sebeka) and Bradyn Romsdahl (Comfrey) both shot a perfect 100 in relatively calm and sunny conditions during the Class 2A championship to tie for high gun. Emily Miner of Kingsland High School was not far behind as the top female shooter on Tuesday with a 99.
The top five individual scores for each program make up a team score. Groves Academy won the Class 1A title with a 471. Annandale won the Class 2A team title by finishing with a 480 after individual scores of 98, 98, 96, 94 and 94.
Ramey came into the championship for Osakis as a junior varsity shooter based on his season scoring average, but he was his team’s top shooter on Tuesday across all divisions. He finished by breaking 89 out of 100 clays with rounds of 24, 21, 19 and 25.
“It felt great,” Ramey said. “I honestly don’t come out and shoot a lot, but I came out and had fun today.”
Ramey's younger brother, John, also shot on Tuesday, finishing with a 79 out of 100. Thomas Weiler shot an 82, and Tyler Hagen, Lynnea Maus and Nathan Lebrun all shot an 81 to round out Osakis’ top six shooters at the event.
Osakis had a total of 22 student athletes on this year’s team during the five weeks of competition in the regular season. That ranged from some more experienced kids on the trap range to two who had no prior experience shooting before this season.
“That’s what makes it worth it,” Osakis coach Brian Schablin said of seeing some new shooters join the team and have success. “Seeing these kids who otherwise wouldn’t be able to participate in sports. My children are not athletic in terms of ball handling and stuff like that, so for my oldest daughter, this has been a wonderful sport for her.”
Schablin, Marilyn Kahlert and Brian Ramey for Osakis join the hundreds of other adults around Minnesota serving as volunteer coaches in the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League. They are part of a group of people who dedicate a lot of time trying to foster a love for a sport these students can do long after they graduate high school.
“I think it’s worth mentioning that this is hands down the safest school sport there is,” Schablin said. “It’s non-contact. Everybody can do it. What we try to preach to the kids is obviously the safety aspect, enjoy themselves and learn something about themselves.”
The full nine-day schedule for the championship at the Alexandria Shooting Park can be seen by going to the trap shooting championship website at http://championship.mnclaytarget.com.
OSAKIS FINAL SCORES (out of a possible 100): Tyler Hagen - 39, 42 - 81; Teagen Hamilton - 41, 32 - 73; Carsten Jacobson - 37, 39 - 76; Kevin Kortuem - 26, 33 - 59; Mason LaForge - 28, 28 - 56; Nathan Lebrun - 37, 44 - 81; Lynnea Maus - 41, 40 - 81; John Ramey - 39, 40 - 79; Matthew Ramey - 45, 44 - 89; Thomas Weiler - 41, 41 - 82
UPCOMING DATES AND START TIMES FOR DOUGLAS COUNTY AREA TEAMS
June 16, Class 3A -- Brandon-Evansville, 8:30 a.m. on Field 4A; Minnewaska, 9 a.m. on Field 8A; West Central Area , 10:30 a.m. on Field 8B
June 19, Class 6A -- Parkers Prairie, 8:30 a.m. on Fields 3B and 4A
June 20, Class 7A -- Alexandria, 8:30 a.m. on Field 7A