Hanson runner-up at state clays
ALEXANDRIA — The Perham clay target team completed their season with an 11th place finish in Class AA at the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League’s 2014 championship, billed as the the world’s largest youth trap shooting event at the Alexandria Shooting Park in early June.
Governor Mark Dayton was on hand for the opening ceremonies. Dayton and the Legislature approved more than $2 million in trap shooting sports facility cost-share grants. That will go toward developing or rehabilitating public facilities that provide opportunities for trap shooting across the state.
“To have this kind of space available for kids and adults is really extraordinary,” Dayton said of the Alexandria Shooting Park. “There are parks in other parts of the state where this is not presently available. Having the space is one of the critical features to safe shooting experiences, and this money will help keep people safe.”
The League featured just three teams and 30 participants from 2001 through 2008. Since then, it has grown to 185 teams from 275 schools and about 6,100 competitors for the 2014 season.
Dayton said it’s a testament to how important the outdoors and the future of shooting sports are to people across the state.
“Hunting is a great Minnesota tradition,” Dayton said. “I used to go pheasant and duck hunting in southwestern Minnesota with my father and my brother, and I still have some of my best memories growing up with that experience. The fact this will encourage the next generations to follow in their fathers’ and mothers’ and grandparents’ footsteps is just terrific. It gets them off to a good start and teaches them how to handle a weapon responsibly. It’s just all good.”
A total of 3,948 high school athletes were registered to shoot over the course of five days.
Perham and the 2A schools shot on a blustery Saturday that gave shooters different environments in their shooting rounds.
The weather, especially the wind changed in the second round altering aims and eventually scores.
“It’s impossible to shoot a bird that is constantly rising,” said Perham coach LeRoy Atkinson. “If you didn't take them right out of the house, you have to take them early. If you don't, the elements get into it and it really makes a difference.”
Perham also shot shorthanded with two varsity shooters Matthew Benke and Ryan Dahl missing the competition due to clashes with baseball schedules.
“Their scores would have made a difference in the final team score,” Atkinson said.
Hibbing won the AA title with a combined score of 469. Perham was 21 targets out in 11th place with a 448.
Perham’s top finish at the varsity level was by Kyle Hanson who finished as the AA runner-up. Travis Salo of Hermantown edged Hanson in a tiebreaker missing his 58th bird, while Hanson missed his 32nd after both recorded top scores of 97.
Perham finishes: Girls Novice: Montana Osterman 25th; Boys Novice: Ryan Kalina 38th; Boys JV: Jay Klatt ninth; Connor Guck and Coleton Masteller 19th; Brayden Lafromboise 22nd; Landon Nelson 24th; Keith Friedsam 26th; Curtis Swanson 30th; Gage Paurus 41st; Girls JV: Audrey Swanson ninth; Boys Varsity: Hanson second; Tanner Rastedt 12th; Troy Brown 14th; Wesley Vroman 15th; Ryan Schmitz and Levi Swyter 16th; Kevin Lein and William Minten 19th; Todd Brown 21st; Seth Morin 27th. Joe Lorenson, Alaina Petit and Nathan Moris rounded out the state team.
Forum News Service’s Eric Morken, Sports Editor at the Alexandria Echo Press, contributed to this story.