Alexandria trap shooters prove themselves as some of the state's best again at Class 7A championship
Alexandria's team score of 480 at the championship on June 20 leaves them in seventh place among the top 40 programs that will qualify for the final state tournament on June 25 with just two days of competition left at the nine-day event at the Alexandria Shooting Park.
Alexandria’s trap shooting team came into the Class 7A championship on June 20 looking like one of the top teams in the division, and they went out and proved it in some wet and windy conditions.
The weather had not really been a factor at the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League championship through the first six days. Rain was on and off throughout Sunday’s 7A shoot, and winds picked up into the afternoon too. Alexandria shot right through that and posted a score of 480, good for fourth place out of 29 teams in its division.
Roseau High School won the 7A title with a 486 out of a possible 500, and New Prague and Fairmont both shot 482.
“They did very good,” Alexandria coach Scott Green said of his shooters. “I don’t want this to come out negative, but I wasn’t exactly sure they would do that well. They shot really good. They didn’t crack under pressure, so it was fun to see them shoot that well. It was tough conditions.”
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Alexandria’s score looks like it will send the program to the state tournament at the Minneapolis Gun Club in Prior Lake on June 25. The top 40 teams from all nine days of competition at the championship qualify for the Minnesota State High School League’s state tournament where an overall champion will be determined. Alexandria’s 480 has the team in seventh place with two days of competition left at the championship.
“We had talked about it some in the week,” Alexandria’s Daniel Townsend said. “I figured 480 would be about the benchmark you needed to get to be able to go into the top 40 to go down to Prior Lake...I would say the 480 is a good benchmark to get into the top 40, but to probably place in the top 10 down there you’re looking probably closer at a 485.”
Townsend was a big part of Alexandria’s success on Sunday. He said one of his main motivations was trying to help get a team to that state tournament, and Townsend likely did that by shooting a 97 out of 100 to tie for 10th individually out of 383 varsity shooters.
Devin Dummer shot a 96 (t-18th), Blake Erickson shot a 95 (t-31st), and Cody Lea and Isaac Saffert both shot 94s that ended up being Alexandria’s fifth team score.
Senior Erik Knight led Alexandria with a 98 out of 100. That tied him with six other students for the third best score in Class 7A. The student-athletes shoot two rounds of 25 in the morning before finishing with two more rounds in the afternoon. Jordan’s Jacob Stay and Roseau’s Ethan Tesarek both shot 99 to tie for high gun.
“He does really good under pressure. He knows what he needs to do,” Green said of Knight. “He’s been shooting with us since before the seventh grade when he was shooting with us in the summer leagues. He just loves to shoot. He comes out and practices on his own, he practices with others, and he does a very nice job when it comes to showing others how to concentrate on what they need to do to shoot a good score.”
Alexandria had 45 total students shoot at the championship between novice, junior varsity and varsity divisions. Eleven of those finished with scores in the 90s out of a possible 100.
“We have a lot of coaches with a lot of experience,” Townsend said of this program’s success. “They can shoot well and they know good shooters and have shot with good shooters. That, and you have quite a few kids and have supportive parents, supportive coaches and the rest of the team is also supportive.”
Green credited the Townsend family’s work with the Alexandria Shooting Park in running summer leagues that get young shooters on the range and enjoying the sport early on.
“We’re really lucky to have the talent that we have,” Green said. “This year we had pretty close to 17-18 8th-graders come out. That’s a really good thing. A lot of those young shooters, they didn’t shoot in the 90s, but they shot in the 80s. Any time you can shoot somewhere close to 80 out of 100 in your first year, that just shows that as the years come it will get better and better.”
Dummer and Knight both made the individual state tournament in Prior Lake by being among the top 100 shooters through the regular season with their averages. They will shoot the same day as the team competition on June 25.
That leaves Alexandria likely to be well represented in both the individual and team state shoots if their score after a solid day at the championship holds up in the top 40.
“It’s the best they’ve shot together all year,” Green said. “If it takes competition to do it, then it looks like they’re in pretty fair shape to do what they need to do (at state).”
CLASS 7A CHAMPIONSHIP
TOP-FIVE TEAM SCORES - Roseau -- 486; New Prague -- 482; Fairmont -- 482; Alexandria -- 480; Jordan -- 477
ALEXANDRIA VARSITY SHOOTERS (Out of a possible 100) -- Erik Knight - 98; Daniel Townsend - 97; Devin Dummer - 96; Blake Erickson - 95; Cody Lea - 94; Isaac Saffert - 94; Owen Anderson - 93; Jordan Reese - 93; Kaden Miller - 91; Katie Hanson - 89; Frederick Holbrook - 89; Hunter Walz - 88; Ian Johnson - 85; Jase Lindstrom - 85; Ellie Roers - 84; Nicholas Hiles - 82; Noah Beulke - 81; Ashton Schlosser - 80
Full results for every team at the Class 7A championship on June 20 can be found here .