CC/NP Trap Shooting team aims to get another state champion on target
By John Burbridge
NASHUA — When you’re good, you get pushed back.
That’s what they did to Colton Crooks last spring at the Scholastic Clay Target Program State Shoot held at the Cedar Falls Gun Club.
Crooks, then a senior on the Charles City/Nashua-Plainfield High School Trap Shooting team, had just hit 200 of 200 clay targets, and then hit another 25 of 25 during a shoot-off round with another deadeye aiming to outright win the Men’s Varsity Singles title.
The second shoot-off round was moved back to 22 yards where Crooks hit 24 of 25 — missing for the first time that entire weekend, but only once as his opponent missed twice resulting in the fourth state individual title for the CC/NP program.
The other state champions include Cody Mercer (2010), Austin Gerber (2014) and Izzy Worrell (2015).
CC/NP head coach Mike Oleson hopes he has another state champion(s) in his midst. They may be from his group of new shooters — who are not quite ready to be moved back to 22 yards just yet.
“It’s about building confidence,” Oleson said about taking a group of rookie shooters and having them take aim about 10 yards from the trap house during a recent practice at the Nashua Fish and Game Club. “It helps give them the experience of hitting a target. Then we move them back.”
When they did move back to the standard 16-yard line, Oleson set up the pigeon thrower within the trap house to one release setting as opposed to the random-release setting.
The subsequent intermittent success was celebrated.
“I got 10 this time,” a novice shooter said of his personal-record 25-bird round.
When you get to the varsity level, as one of the assistant coaches mentioned, you don’t count the hits but rather the misses if you want to keep an accurate score in your head.
Among those experienced shooters coming back from the Charles City side of the team include Ali Blickenderfer, Cole Cross, Brayden Ellis and Taylor Quade.
Among those experienced shooters coming back from the Nashua-Plainfield side of the team Nic Brase, Camryn Cleveland, Dawson Demro, Micaiah Grouthuis and J.R. O’Neil.
“We also started an intermediate program this season,” said Oleson, whose team now also includes middle school shooters from Charles City and Nashua-Plainfield.
The team will open the season with an intrasquad invitational at Nashua Fish and Game Club.