MASON, MI - The Michigan Trapshooting Association Home grounds, located in Mason, Michigan, played host to the premier high school clay target shooting competition in the nation July 7-11 as over 3,000 of the nation’s best youth clay target student-athletes competed at the USA High School Clay Target League National Championship.
Orland High School sent members of their young, successful Clay Target Shooting team to the national finals, competing in both the team and individual events. The team consisted of freshmen Hunter Blethroad, Haylee Johnson, and Jeremy Crandall Jr., sophomores Autumn Irvin, and Ethan Johnsen, junior Ty Padgett, and senior Owen Hutsell.
In the team competition, the Orland High School athletes faced off with 158 other teams from across the country in the National Championship. As only 80 teams advanced to the final competition the young Orland team missed their chance to advance to the Sunday competition.
The team competition format consists of five student-athletes, with an additional two alternate shooters. The team shoots two 50-target sessions (100 in total) for the Friday qualifying round.
The team from Calhoun High School in Illinois took home the National Championship with a total score of 969, followed by St. James Academy in Kansas with a 966.
In the individual competition, the Orland High School student-athletes competed against 1,684 other athletes from across the United States. Each shooter was assigned a field with four other shooters from other states where they shot two 50-target sessions, 100 in total, for the opening round of qualifying. The top 400 student-athletes moved on to Sunday’s Championship Round. Although no Orland High School student-athlete was able to qualify in the top 400, they all shot their personal best with Autumn ‘Otter’ Irvin shooting a perfect round of 25.
The California State High School Clay Target League sent one other school, Turlock Christian High School, to the National Championship. Turlock Christian competed in the team competition and individual competitions. An individual shooter from Etna High School also made the trip to the Michigan Trapshooting Association Home grounds for the qualifying round on Saturday.
The top two individual spots were taken by students from Calhoun High School in Illinois, as Landon Sievers took home the National Championship, finishing day one and day two with perfect scores. His teammate Steven Margherio also finished the two day qualifying period with perfect scores of 100 and 100, while Tanner Sells of Trego Community High School in Kansas also turned in a perfect two day total of 200. That led to a three-way shoot off to determine the overall national championship.
The USA High School Clay Target League has teams in high schools in 40 states. The organization’s priorities are safety, fun, and marksmanship – in that order. With more than 75 million trigger pulls and 125,000 student-athletes since 2001, the League has never had an injury.