The Minnesota State High School Clay Target League wrapped up its 2019 state championship shoot in Alexandria on June 18 after nine straight days and nearly 8,350 kids got a chance to shoot at a packed Alexandria Shooting Park.

In the end, 40 teams qualified for the final shoot of the spring season-the Minnesota State High School League's state tournament on June 21 at the Minneapolis Gun Club in Prior Lake. Two local teams were among that group as Alexandria and Minnewaska will both get a chance to compete for that overall state title on Friday.

Team scores are comprised of each program's top five individual scores, and Blaine posted the best number of any of the nearly 320 teams. They busted 493 out of a possible 500, but Alexandria was right behind Blaine in second place overall with a 489. Minnewaska finished with the 14th best team score in the field with a 480.

John Nelson is the president of the USA Clay Target League. He helps run the championship shoot in Alexandria and said this year's event is about as good as the league has had during its nearly decade-long existence.

Unlike the state tournament in Prior Lake where teams and individuals qualify to compete there, the championship in Alexandria has a state-tournament feel with something on the line but is an event where every shooter in the league is invited. Kids from programs all around Minnesota took full advantage of the opportunity this year.

"It's probably the best tournament we've had up here. The weather cooperated. We've had no major issues as far as machine breakdowns or any major delays," Nelson said. "We've had our biggest crowds by far here. We had the most number of kids. We had 8,350 registered for this event, which is a couple hundred more than last year. We had about 320 teams show up. All these are record numbers this year."

TOP-40 TEAM SCORES THAT QUALIFIED FOR THE STATE TOURNAMENT (Out of a possible 500) - Blaine - 493; Alexandria - 489; Badger-Greenbush-Middle River - 488; Marshall - 488; New Prague - 487; Park Rapids - 484; Brainerd - 484; Hibbing - 483; Fairmont - 483; Wheaton - 481; Roseau - 481; Alden-Conger - 481; Delano - 481; Minnewaska - 480; Spring Grove - 480; Hopkins - 480; Annandale - 480; Hermantown - 480; Park High - 480; Prior Lake - 480; Lakeview - 479; Hastings - 479; Lakeville South - 479; United South Central - 479; Champlin Park - 479; Bemidji - 479; Buffalo - 479; Tri-City United - 477; Wayzata - 477; Foley - 477; Monticello - 477; Forest Lake - 476; Irondale - 476; Perham - 476; Duluth East - 475; Red Wing - 475; Cambridge -Isanti - 475; Zimmerman - 474; Northfield - 474; New London-Spicer - 474