The Mabel-Canton High School trap shooters finished in third place among 29 teams at the Class 3A State Tournament, where the Cougars qualified for the overall (all nine classes) state tournament where they placed 12th among 40 teams. For individual honors at that final shoot-off, Mabel-Canton senior Colton Heintz-Kuderer hit 99 of 100 flying clay targets to place fourth among 92 individuals.
During the regular season, Lanesboro, Spring Grove and LeRoy-Ostrander claimed conference titles. Mabel-Canton and Kingsland were conference runners-up while Houston finished third in its conference race. Rushford-Peterson finished fourth in an eight-team race; Caledonia was fourth among nine. Grand Meadow and Chatfield each ranked seventh and Fillmore Central eighth in their respective league races.
During that five-week regular season, there were close to 11,000 individual high school boys and girls. The 100 shooters with the best season averages earned All-State credentials. Six Journal-area sharpshooters earned that distinction, including three from Mabel-Canton. R-P junior Brady Gile ranked highest at 11th, averaging 24.40 out of a perfect 25.00. M-C senior Tracer Tollefsrud tied for 41st (24.00) and Cougar teammate junior Austin Snell (23.90) tied with Lanesboro eighth grader Holdyn Willford (23.90) for 51st. Heintz-Kuderer and Spring Grove junior Ashlyn Hammel tied for 74th (23.70). It was a second All-State season for both Gile and Heintz-Kuderer (both 2019, 2021) after the pandemic cancelation of the 2020 campaign had prevented their opportunity for an All-State threepeat.
Those 100 All-State shooters automatically qualified to vie for individual honors at the final state tournament where they each attempted 100 shots (four rounds of 25 each). Two marksmen connected on all 100 attempts while Heintz-Kuderer
and Randolph’s Cory Timm each blew apart 99 clay targets. Timm won the tiebreaker for third place with Heintz-Kuderer taking fourth among 92 competitors. Gile (96 targets) tied for 20th; Snell (91) tied for 82nd. Willford (87) tied for 84th while Tollefsrud (86) tied for 86th and Hammel (85) tied for 88th.
The Minnesota State High School Clay Target League (MSHSCTL) conducted the conference season and then its nine state tournaments – one for each class, 1A through 9A – at Alexandria on June 14-22. The top 40 teams from those nine tourneys (along with those 100 All-State individuals) advanced to the overall state championship conducted by the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) on June 25 at the Minneapolis Gun Club at Prior Lake.
The MSHSCTL organized all teams into nine classes – not according to school enrollment, but by number of registered shooters (fewest in 1A, most in 9A). Each class is then divided into conferences for regular-season competition. Geography is not a concern, since each team shoots on its own range. International Falls and Spring Grove were in the same conference.
At the end of the five-week conference season, all teams are eligible to compete in their respective class state tournament at Alexandria – one class each day, which with about 6,500 student athletes this year, has been called the world’s largest shooting sport event.
Spring Grove (1st conference, 5th state) captured the Class 1A-Conference 11 crown, the Lions’ fifth title in six seasons. Ashlyn Hammel ranked first among conference girls and seventh among all the Class 1A girls in the state. The top four conference girls were all Lions with Hammel (23.70) followed in order by Taylor Reinhardt (22.00), Tiffany Michels (21.20) and Marah Mathison (20.90).
Six Lions were among the top 25 conference boys, led by Tristan Hammel (23.40) in second place, Camron Kraus (22.80) seventh, Xander Lewis (22.70) tied for eighth, Carson Gerard (22.60) tied for 12th, Christian Bjerke (22.00) tied for 17th and Jakob Myrah (21.00) tied for 25th.
Having won three previous state championships, Spring Grove placed fifth this year among 67 Class 1A teams, eight clay targets behind state champ, Groves Academy (St Louis Park). Individually, Garrison Van Minsel hit 94 of 100 birds to tie for 21st place among 241 shooters. Xander Lewis (93) and Tristan Hammel (93) tied for 38th. Ashlyn Hammel (92) tied for 49th overall but had the third-best score among 22 girls. Kraus (91) tied for 55th while Reinhardt (90) and Gerard (90) shared 65th place. Mathison (87) was in the top half of the field tied for 111th place.
LeRoy-Ostrander (1st conf., 19th state) claimed a third-straight conference title in Class 1A-Conference 9. Tristan Lewison was the league’s top-scoring boy with an average of 23.10 out a perfect 25.00. Anna Welsh (21.40) was the loop’s top-scoring girl. Six Cardinals ranked among the top 25 boys, including 11th-ranked Nathan Kiefer (20.80) and No. 18 Jeremiah Weiss (19.90), Sarah Kiefer (19.20) had the fifth-highest average among conference girls.
At the Class 1A State Championships, L-O placed 19th among 67 teams. Among individuals, Lewison tied for 38th and Welsh tied for 95th among 241 shooters.
Lanesboro (1st conf., 23rd state) dominated Class 2A-Conference 2, posting the best team score in each of the five weeks. Willford averaged 23.90 for every 25 attempts, the highest average in the conference. Logan Torgerson (22.70) ranked fourth, William Asleson (22.00) seventh, Trayton McCabe (21.00) 11th and Trevor Ruen (19.60) 19th.
With a very limited lineup at the 1A State Championships at Alexandria, the Burros placed 23rd among 67 teams. Individually, Willford was one of five with the best score of 99 (out of 100). Among 241 shooters, Torgerson was tied for 21st with a score of 94; McCabe tied for 81st at 89.
Mabel-Canton (2nd conf. 3rd state) was Class 3A-Conference 3 runner-up to Brandon-Evansville, a team the Cougars would later outscore during postseason competition. M-C had the top four girls in the conference – Saijal Slafter (22.70 average), Emma Middendorf (22.20), Emma Tollefsrud (22.00) and Camryn Cox (22.00). Three Cougars had All-State seasons, led by Tracer Tollefsrud (24.00) who tied for fifth among conference boys. Austin Snell (23.90) ranked seventh, Heintz-Kuderer (23.70) ninth. In addition to that All-State trio, Jack Arneson and Riley Snell, each averaging 22.80, tied for 13th. Hayden Erickson (22.60) ranked 15th among league boys while Dawson Wangen and Dawson Kleiboer, each at 22.30, tied for 16th.
At the Class 3A State Tournament, Mabel-Canton placed third among 40 teams, one bird behind Mayer Lutheran and Proctor (two teams the Cougars would later outscore at MSHSL state) At 3A State, Austin Snell hit 96 of 100 birds to tie for
10th place. Heintz-Kuderer and Slafter each hit 95 to tie for 17th. Arneson (94) tied for 32nd and Tracer Tollefsrud (92) 54th among 346 individuals. Emma Tollefsrud (88) and Riley Snell (88) tied for 117th. Dawson Wangen and Skyer Wangen each hit 87 birds while Emma Middendorf scored 86 and Camryn Cox 84.
Kingsland (2nd conf., 9th state) was the runner-up in Class 2A-Conference 2. Emily Miner (22.60) was the top scoring girl in the league while Lydia Voeltz (17.60) was 11th. Among the conference boys, the Knights had six of the top 21 boys: Bradley Grabau (22.90) second, Connor Eickhoff (22.60) fourth, Ashton Boysen (22.20) eighth, Carleton Corson (21.40) tied for 16th, Blake Oeltjen (20.90) 19th and Acelee Kohn (20.80) tied for 20th.
At the Class 2A State Tournament, Kingsland finished ninth among 48 teams. Miner, with a 99, was the top-scoring Class 2A girl and ranked third overall (girls and boys). For the 2A boys, Grabau and Corson each hit 92 flying clays to tie for 42nd in a field of 249 shooters.
Houston finished third in Class 1A-Conference 6. Aaron Lynch (22.60) had the fifth-best average among conference boys. Tanner Kubitz (21.13) ranked 12th and Ethan Frauenkron (20.90) 15th. Cora Niebeling (18.80) had the fifth-best season average among the league girls. Hailey Alfson ranked 11th and Samantha Witt 12th. At Class 1A State, the Hurricanes finished 49th among 67 teams. Among 241 shooters, Frauenkron tied for 55th place, and Lynch tied for 81st.
Rushford-Peterson finished fourth in Class 2A-Conference 6. Four Trojans finished among the league’s top 20 boys: All-State Brady Gile (24.40) second, Gregg Gile (21.90) tied for 12th, Jacob Holien (21.40) 18th and Jens Lind (21.20) 20th. Breena Pehler (19.80) had the second-highest season average among conference girls. Megan York ranked 10th among 26 girls.
At Class 2A State, the Trojans placed 18th, in the top half of the 40-team field. Brady Gile hit 98 of 100 targets to tie for fourth place among 249 shooters. Gregg Gile (90) tied for 70th.
Caledonia placed fourth among nine squads in Class 2A-Conference 5. Among the league’s top 25 boys were Taylor Berg (21.90) tied for 17th, Tate Van Gundy (21.70) 21st and Isiah Reinhart (21.40) 25th. At Class 2A State, the Warriors were 40th as a team while Evan Schroeder tied for 55th and Berg tied for 92nd out of 249 individuals.
Chatfield was seventh in Class 5A-Conference 2. Caden Nolte (20.80) was among the top 25 boys while Keira Kobs and Chloe Berg were on the girls’ top-25 list. At Class 5A State, the Gophers were 27th as a team while Samuel Finley tied for 165th and Nolte tied for 186th among 221 individual shooters.
Grand Meadow was seventh in class 4A-Conference 1 while four shooters made the top-25 boys list. Carson Paul (21.40) ranked ninth, Dakota Steinkamp 19th, Rowan Sween 23rd and Hunter Shane tied for 24th. Chloe Burroughs was 12th among the girls, and Jessica Grafe tied for 25th. At 4A State, the Superlarks were 18th out 24 teams. Dillon Bakken’s 96 was the best score among 167 junior varsity boys. Among 204 varsity individuals, Paul blasted 88 birds to tie for 80th while Shane and Sween tied for 106th.
Fillmore Central was eighth in Class 3A-Conference 2. Grace Kennedy had the 23rd-highest average among conference girl. At Class 3A State, the Falcons were 37th as a team; Josh Bissen connected with 85 of 100 targets to tie for 175th among 346 individuals. Samuel Springer hit 84.
There will be Journal-area teams and individuals among an expected 3,000 trap shooters competing at the USA High School Clay Target League National Championships on July 7-11 in Mason, Mich.