The 2019 Pine City High School Trap Team has a team record 93 shooters, an increase of 16 from last year. Because of the high number of participants, the team will again be placed in one of the top classes in the state.
In 2018, of the 349 schools in the state participating in the trap league, only 12 had more participants than Pine City. Teams are assigned to conferences based on team participation rather than school size.
This year, there are 12,275 kids shooting trap in Minnesota, representing 362 teams. Pine City has been placed in the top class--9A. This is the 4th largest high school team in the state and in the nation. Conferences are assigned by team participation numbers rather than by school size. Albany, Bemidji, Farmington, Hastings, Northfield, Owatonna and Pequot Lakes are the other teams in this conference.
This year’s team has 65 returning shooters and 28 new members. There are 18 females and 75 males on the team. Last year’s leading shooters, Justin Stolp, Parker Sell, Brice Wersal, Sean Saunders, Peyton Smetana, Morgan Drevecky, Lukas Keman, Devin Roberts, Josh Doenz and Jarred Juhl are all back and primed for the season. Jade Juhl, TJ Rank, Kaia Leibel, Megan Stransky, Andrew Belland and Blaise Olson all are returning to help provide shooting skills and senior leadership to the team.
A total of 32 volunteer coaches are working with the team, improving skills and developing relationships to help the athletes learn trap shooting skills as well as good character development.
The season began at Wings North on Sunday, March 31. All shoots are held on Sundays beginning at 12:30 p.m. Trap shooting is a club sport, so the team is not supported financially by the school district. Team members pay their own insurance and participation fees, and local organizations have contributed the cost of ammunition and team shirts. So far, the team has purchased over $9,000 worth of ammunition for this year alone.
The state tournament will be held in June in Alexandria. Last year 26 Pine City High School athletes participated. The team also sent three shooters to the national tournament in Michigan.