Shooting teams open season

Paul LaBonte takes aim at a clay pigeon during the shooting competition on April 17. LaBonte is a member of the Southwood trap shooting team. Photo by Joseph Slacian

By Joseph Slacian

Members of the Northfield and Southwood high school trap shooting teams have started competition in their inaugural season.

The students shoot Wednesday evenings at Bass and Bucks. Competitions take place at 5, 6 and 7 p.m.

The teams are coached by Jeff Springer and Todd Eltzroth.

Both coaches stressed that safety is of the utmost importance for the students and spectators as well.

Students must wear eye and ear protection while shooting, they noted. In addition, the students are only allowed to load their shotguns just prior to their turn trying to shoot one of the clay targets.

Students stand on rubber mats in a gravel area, several yards behind the machine that throws the targets into the air.

The target is released by one of the coaches at the command of the individual shooter. The machine rotates and flings the target skyward in any direction. The other coach then calls whether the shooter hit or missed the target.

There are five students participating in each competition. After one round of shooting – each of the five shooters get a chance to shoot during a round – the students then change shooting pads, moving to the pad to their right. They then shoot another round. This continues until each shooter has shot from each of the five pads.

The students supply their own ammunition and shotguns for the co-ed sport.

Southwood student Paul LaBonte said he’s had his shotgun for several years and decided to try to do something beside hunt with it. This is his first time target shooting.

Another student, Northfield’s Tyler Whitesel, said he’s been target shooting for sometime.

“I’ve enjoyed it a home for a while,” he said, “so why not come do it on a weekly basis and have fun with my friends.”

Southwood’s Grant Holloway agreed.

“I’ve been shooting clay pigeons for some time,” he said. “It’s nice to come out here and have some friendly competition and see if you can hit some targets.

His teammate Brandon Lawson said he was’t really interested in other extracurricular activities.

“I’ve always been interested in shooting and thought his was a perfect opportunity to have some from.”

Southwood’s Madison Hipskind is the only female student on the team.

“I’ve been doing clay shoots at home for a couple years now,” she said. “It’s just something I’ve always enjoyed doing.”

All said they were happy that the school district approved trap shooting teams.

The scores, according to coach Springer, are recorded electronically to a central database.

In essence, the teams are competing in a virtual competition.

The teams that Northfield and Southwood compete against shoot at their own shooting range. Their scores are entered into the same database and the scores are compared to determine the winner.

Bass and Bucks is located at 4890 W. Millcreek Pike, Wabash.

Posted on 2019 Apr 23