June 15, 2010
It's the state championships. You step up to the line, take a
deep breath and concentrate. It's good advice as you cradle the ball
for that last second foul shot in basketball... or position your
shotgun during the final round shootoff on the trap shooting range.
More than 500 Iowa high schoolers took their best shots this month
at the 2010 state high school trapshooting championships, near Cedar
Falls. "In the last three years, we've been growing about 100
competitors a year," notes Ben Berka, shooting sports coordinator
with the Department of Natural Resources. "We see a 'cluster'
effect. One school starts; then another wants it."
The state finals are the culmination of a two-month competitive
program, which saw 130 different matches across Iowa. Each fielded
from 20 to 250 young shooters. Results are displayed online, so
every shooter knows who to beat, when he-or she-gets to state. This
year, more than 70 girls toed the 16 and 19 yard shooting lines at
state. They joined about 465 boys at the nearly mile-long trap
range, north of Cedar Falls.
New Hampton won the team title, in a shootoff over Maquoketa, after
each team finished with 472 broken clays, out of 500 thrown. Osage
was third (458), with Nashua (454), Northwood Kensett (453) and
Mason City Red (449) breaking into the top six, among the 92
competing teams. Some schools sent more than one five-member team to
In the individual boys competition, Cody Mercer (Charles City) took
the shootoff over Samuel Beaver (St. Ansgar), after each had knocked
down 99 of 100 in the four regular rounds. Right behind them were
Nick Arthur (Lynnville-Sully), Bryce Haines (Iowa City West), Robbie
Marzoff (New Hampton) and Jaycob Clark (Maquoketa). Each broke 98
clays, with a shootoff settling the final order.
Girls compete with the guys in the team competition, but are
recognized separately in the individual honors. Calleen Anderson
(Ogden) broke 88 clays, to edge Kayci Klobassa (Osage) for top
honors. Following them were Jade Johnson (Mason City), KJ King
(Waterloo West), Ruth Kiela (Nashua-Plainfield) and Megan Meissen
(New Hampton), whose 83s had to be sorted out through a shootoff as
The day prior to the High School Championships, high schoolers and
middle school shooters competed in the Scholastic Clay Target
Program meet. That, along with the high school meet results and the
season-long league finishes produces the Iowa Team Cup winner; won
for the second year in a row by Maquoketa High School.
Most schools in the competition offer the trap shooting
opportunities as a club or school activity. Also available in Iowa
are sporting clays, skeet and archery. "It teaches shooting in a
safe manner. Boys and girls compete equally," notes Berka. "Coaches
and school officials tell us it catches a lot of kids who maybe
aren't participating in other activities."
And in an increasingly urban society, the shooting sports offer a
venue to the outdoors. "Coaches are familiar with safe shooting.
Many are hunters," says Berka. "It offers avenues to hunting and
conservation to any one who wants to pursue them."
More information on the shooting sports, including shotgun coaching
certification for adults is available at