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Yuba City youngster named all-state trap shooter
It's hard to blame Yuba City's Tyler Olson if he seems busy lately.
While the 15-year-old sophomore at Yuba City High School is a standout baseball player, that's not the only sport he excels at.
Recently, Olson was named to the Sub-Junior All-State trap shooting team by the California Golden State Trapshooting Association.
The team is comprised of the top shooters' average scores at tournaments throughout the year. The top five shooters in the state were named to the team and Olson finished fourth overall.
"The hand-eye coordination and the mental toughness are similar in both sports," said Olson, who is playing baseball for the Honkers' junior varsity team this spring. "You have to have good hand-eye coordination and be mentally tough because a lot of mishaps can happen."
In trap shooting, each participant must compete in three different events: Singles, handicap and doubles.
In singles, each competitor must shoot at one target launched from five different angles 16-yards out. In handicap, the shooters move back one yard each time they achieve a score of 96 or better, and in doubles the shooters fire at two targets launched at the same time.
"You also must have good reflexes because you don't know where the targets are going to come from next," Olson said. "You have five different angles and you don't now where they're going to come from."
The origins of trap shooting date back to 1793, when participants used real birds, usually passenger pigeons.
Fake birds were introduced during the Civil War-era, when passenger pigeon numbers diminished and became nearly extinct. Clay targets became common in the 1880s.
Like many in the sport, Olson took to shooting at a relatively young age.
"I had a friend that did it, and when he told me about it, I decided to try it out," said Olson, who has been trap shooting since the fifth grade. "My mom's dad competed too, so I got a lot of that from her."
Olson's mother, Wendy, participated in the sport as a youngster and has seen many former acquaintances while traveling to the different events throughout the state with Tyler.
Many of the children she knew when her father competed now have their own children involved in trap shooting, she said.
As in any sport, Tyler's achievements, both on the range and on the diamond, have come from good old-fashioned hard work.
"He puts a lot of effort into whatever he's doing," said his mother, who added that when the weather permits, Olson practices three or four days a week at the Coon Creek Trap and Skeet Club just north of Lincoln. "His coach is a hall of fame shooter, so he's been very fortunate."
Wendy added that while many participants at the tournaments aren't necessarily scholars, Tyler often does homework in between shoots. He has even been spotted reading Cliff Notes of "Romeo and Juliet" while at tournaments.
With that kind of work ethic, it's no surprise that Olson maintains a 4.0 grade point average while taking honor classes at Yuba City.