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WDC gunners advancing to first MSHSL tournament

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The Wadena-Deer Creek Trap Team will cap their second season by competing in the inaugural Minnesota State High School Clay Target Tournament Saturday in Prior Lake.

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The Wolverines advanced to the MSHSL meet by placing fifth out of 59 Class A teams at the Minnesota Clay Target League State Tournament held last Friday in Alexandria. The prestigious meet is dubbed "The World's Largest Youth Trap Shooting Event." Nearly 4,000 high school students from around Minnesota took part in the five days of festivities.

Freshman Cordell Webb led the way for the WDC team, blasting 97 out of 100 birds. Webb dusted the first 50 birds he saw and ended up in sixth place in the tournament. Last year's Top Gun, Jacob Goeden, had two runs of 25 straight during his four rounds, giving him a total of 94 and a tie for 10th place. Blaine Cooper knocked down 93 targets to finish tied for 11th, Chris Hahn shattered 88 and Reid Miller 86. Drew Killian (77) and Adam Arneson (71) also competed in the varsity division. The team ended up hitting 461 out of 500 targets and in a fourth-place tie with Richfield. Richfield ended up in the fourth spot when their top shooter hit 99 out of 100 targets.

Teams are placed in different divisions based on the average score of the shooters. Last season, the first year the Wolverines had a team, they only qualified to shoot in the Novice Division, for shooters with lower averages. This season, WDC had shooters qualify in all divisions.

"The kids shot incredible," said Co-Coach Mike Kenney, "We shot later in the day, so the kids had a lot of wind to deal with. Nothing bothered them, they shot great."

Co-Coach Chelsa Golberg added, "We are very proud of the way the kids performed. It didn't rain, but the wind was horrendous."

Both coaches noted great community support for the team. Improvements were made to the Knob Hill Trap facility including a new trap machine that allowed the kids to have improved conditions for practice and competition this year.

"The support of Knob Hill Sportsman Club, the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association - Wadena chapter, the Wadena chapter of Pheasants Forever, the Deer Creek Rod and Gun Club, the Otter Tail Rod and Gun Club, and Mason Brothers has made this a great experience," said Kenney.

WDC teams also competed in the JV and Novice divisions as well. The Wolverines placed sixth in the 42-team JV division. Emily Astle placed second in the female competition with 85 out of 100. Ryan Grendahl was ninth for the boys with 89. Matt Goeden shot 84, William Astle hit 81, Elijah Schmitz shattered 80, Brady Adams shot 78 and Josh Brink connected with 74.

In the Novice Division, Ella Harrison tied for ninth in the female division with 53 out of 75, while Bryce Cooper was 10 for the boys at 61/75 and Wyatt Hamann shot 49 out of 75, good for 22nd.

WDC will now compete at the Minneapolis Gun Club in Prior Lake. Opening ceremonies will start at 8 a.m. Saturday. WDC will be one of only 25 teams in all classes to compete in the tournament.

Trap shooting began in 2001 but has exploded in the last five years with over 6,000 students presently registered throughout the state.

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