Sleepy Eye high school trap shooting team completes regular season

Deb Moldaschel
The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch

Last spring, Sleepy Eye’s newly created high school trap shooting team was able to compete in a shortened season. This spring the athletes have had a regular season, with a state tournament to follow next month.

Officially called the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League, trap shooting is categorized as an “activity” by the Minnesota State High School League. Teams have local sponsors—the Sleepy Eye Sportsmen’s Club for the local team—which is also under the guidance of Sleepy Eye High School.

The Sleepy Eye team had 38 students participate this season—12 girls and 26 boys. Team members are students from  both Sleepy Eye Public and St. Mary’s High Schools.

Coaches for the team are Mike Hardin, Ryan Zarn, Jeff Zarn, Matt Schmidt, Bryan Berkner and Andy Pelzel. 

The Sleepy Eye Trap Team, front from left: Jake Heinrichs, Hayden Zarn, Brayden Suess, Josh Sellner, Alexa Pelzel, and Emma Fischer. Second row: Nico Nosbush, Kaleb Weiss, Julia Berkner, Jasmine Petermann, Chloe Dolly, Sam Price, Kallie Zarn, Maya Nelson, Macey Ludewig, and Noah Rossbach. Third row: Brandon Braulick, Caleb Suess, Carter Swenstad, Conor Strong, Riley Strate, Jacob Schultz, and Logan Ludewig, Coach Andy Pelzel, and Coach Jeff Zarn. Fourth row: Coach Ryan Zarn, Coach Mike Hardin, Jonathan Petermann, Kadon Strong, Jack Windschitl, Ari Krzmarzick, and Gavin Strong. Fifth row: Mark Anderson, Nathan Rathman, Winsten Nienhaus, Jake Price, Jade Sellner, and Dallas Brazle. Not pictured: Spencer Hoffman, Taylor Berkner, Coach Matt Schmidt, and Coach Bryan Berkner.

“Each athlete shot at 250 clay targets, for a total of 9,500 clay targets,” said Coach Hardin. “That is also 9,500 shotgun shells that were fired, which as many know, are not the easiest to come by right now. We were lucky enough to secure a shipment from Federal Ammunition back in January but did not receive them until April after our season had started. Thankfully we had ammunition left over from last year to get us started.”

The high school trap shooting season started April 11 and finished May 9. Shoots were held on Sunday afternoons at the Sleepy Eye Sportsmen’s Club Trap Range.

Hardin said 19 athletes from the Sleepy Eye team are going to the Minnesota Clay Target State Shoot in Alexandria next month. Athletes can enter if they choose. Sleepy Eye’s day to shoot is Friday, June 18.

The team’s top 10 shooters for the season are:

1. Hayden Zarn

2. Spencer Hoffman

3. Brayden Suess

4. Riley Strate

5. Caleb Suess

6. Kadon Strong

7. Jacob Schultz

8. Mark Anderson

9. Jake Price

10. Winsten Nienhaus

Hardin said the team is financially supported by the Sportsmen’s Club, Isaac Walton League, Servicemen’s Club Charitable Gambling, Pheasants Forever, and other various donations made to the youth trap team.