The Minnesota State High School Clay Target League is up to 8,600 participating students across the state as it gets set for the spring season, and the Alexandria program is doing its part to contribute to those numbers.
“The number of male shooters increased 13 to total 60 and the female shooters doubled to 14 competing,” Green said of this year’s roster. “This is a gender neutral sport with male and female target shooters shooting head to head in competition.”
That’s one of the things that make the league appealing and unique to so many. The MSHSCTL took a while to get going. There were just three teams and 30 athletes who participated from 2001-2008.
From there, the sport took off. Participation went to six schools with 60 athletes in 2009 and continued to almost double every year through 2013. It jumped from 6,100 students participating in 2014 to the current number of almost 8,600.
It’s a testament to how important the shooting sports are to families and outdoors people with the cost to participate falling on families. Most programs see a lot of time and money donated to help ease any burdens that come with that.
“The student interest is high, along with their parents and grandparents interest as volunteers have been strong,” Green said of Alexandria in particular. “This is a pay-as-you-compete sport for each family and the 11 certified trap coaches are all volunteers. Community, local business and service group support and donations have also been outstanding.”
The Cardinals have also seen great success on the shooting range in recent years. They are coming off a Class 5A, Conference 2 championship where they finished in front of a group of Twin Cities teams like Blaine, Wayzata, Shakopee, Rosemount and New Prague.
The addition of so many students means the league had to go to six classes this season. Alexandria will move up and compete in Class 6A, which features the largest programs. The Cardinals will compete in Conference 3 and have high expectations again with so many shooters to lean on.
“We are coming off a great year in 2014, winning both spring and fall conferences,” Green said. “We are a very strong target shooting team with a lot of new target shooters for the future of the AAHS program.”