Trap shooting: Brandon-Evansville finishes the season strong at state tournament
B-E finishes tied for 22nd at the Minnesota State High School League trap shooting state tournament
PRIOR LAKE - The Brandon-Evansville Chargers had a solid showing at the Minnesota State High School League trap shooting state tournament and finished in the top 25 of the team shoot, in addition to having good finishes in the individual shoot.
“There was a lot of tough competition there for sure,” senior Riley Bitzan said. “It’s the best of the best. Not all of us were on our “A” game, really; I know I really didn’t do as best as I could. You get nervous when you come down here; it’s a big shoot.”
As a team, Brandon-Evansville finished in a tie for 22nd with a score of 467 along with Princeton out of the 40 team’s who qualified. Wayzata won the team championship with a score of 489, while Tri-City United came in second with a score of 481.
“It felt pretty good,” Englund said about shooting a 99 himself in the team shoot. “Shooting next to our teammates, they really cheer us on and it’s a lot easier, it seems like. I’ve been shooting with them since 9th-grade.”
Englund said that the temperature was cool to begin the day but that it got hot outside once the individual shoot began in the middle of the afternoon.
In the individual shoot, Englund tied for 24th with a score of 97, which is the score he finished at the end of the 2021 state tournament a year ago.
“Last year, I did pretty decent here and I figured the last couple of weeks I've been doing really good, so I was pretty confident coming in.”
Benjamin Nachreiner (Lakeville South), Carter Sampson (Stillwater), Anthony Klassen (Benson), Davis Hay (Wayzata) and Keith Rollins (Staples-Motley) all shot 100s and tied for first.
Brandon-Evansville shot a 481 during the Class 3A championship in Alexandria on June 16, 2022, and finished 10th overall in the final score to qualify for the tournament on Friday.
Chase Holtberg had the Chargers' second-highest shoot in the team competition on Friday with a 96. Hunter Koep and Riley Bitzan scored above 90, with Koep finishing with a 92 and Bitzan with a 91.
Rounding out the scores for Brandon-Evansville in the team shoot, Spencer Olson had a score of 89.
Holtberg shot 96 clays in the individual shoot and finished tied for 36th. Koep shot 93 clays in the individual shoot and finished tied for 66th, while Bitzan shot 92 clays and finished tied for 74th. Olson shot 85 clays and finished 90th overall.
All five of the Charger shooters earned all-state honors to qualify for the individual shoot.
For Koep, Englund and Bitzan, they got to end their senior seasons at the state tournament.
“It’s for sure good to end on a high note,” Bitzan said. “You can’t really end better unless you place (top-eight) but still. We got 22nd in the team shoot out of 40, which wasn’t great, but when you look at the big picture with there being 400 teams [across the state], we’re sitting pretty good. Individually, we didn't place the highest, but still, there were over 9,000 kids that didn't make it. So I'm happy with the way I ended. I didn't shoot the best, but I'm so happy that I ended where I did.”
Bitzan said that he’d be back next spring as a coach within the program and is excited to see what the future holds.
“I'm very confident in these kids,” Bitzan said. “A lot of these kids have a great attitude; I know a lot of kids that weren't the best throughout the season, shot great in Alex. Allex Schmidt was struggling for a long time but ended up shooting 96 at Alex and it was just great. I'm grateful to be back as a coach next year, and I'm excited to see how the team does. I think they have great potential.”