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Barrett Moore shoots trap for the Hillsdale College shotgun team. (Amanda Klug | Courtesy)

The Michigan Fall Team Shoot in Mason, Michigan on Sunday was the third official com­pe­tition for the Hillsdale Shotgun team. At the event, there were approx­i­mately 561 com­petitors, con­sisting of trap shooting enthu­siasts of all gen­er­a­tions, as well as col­le­giate and high school teams. Going into the tour­nament, the team’s goal was to shoot better than it had pre­vi­ously. 

Freshman Thomas Rogers accom­plished that goal. Hitting a per­sonal best of 99 clays out of 100 targets, Rogers held the second highest score of the match overall. His team­mates rec­og­nized that he main­tained a strong mental attitude despite the sub­op­timal weather con­di­tions. 

“Thomas was cool, calm, and col­lected the entire round,” senior Amanda Klug said. “He main­tained excellent focus throughout the day.”

The weather was not in the team’s favor. Many remarked how the wind and overcast skies made shooting con­di­tions chal­lenging. 

“Dealing with faster targets is doable, but low vis­i­bility is a real killer,” freshman Anthony LaMacchia said.

The Chargers held exclu­sively trap shooting prac­tices for two weeks leading up to this com­pe­tition. By training this way, they could identify posts they were less accurate at, and improve through rep­e­tition. Prac­ticing for lower vis­i­bility shooting is not replicable. 

While shooters strive to beat per­sonal bests in tour­na­ments and improve on their own skills, shotgun shooting is still a team-ori­ented sport.  In fact, upper­classmen make it a point to share their insights with newer shooters. Each team member’s per­for­mance during a round can have a pos­itive or neg­ative effect on the other com­petitors. 

 “The best trap shooters, or any shotgun shooter,  recover from missed shots that aren’t their own,” Klug said. 

As a team con­tinues to break con­sec­utive targets, it inspires and helps shooters focus more. Con­trarily, when someone misses, it breaks some of their con­cen­tration and makes it easier to miss targets. 

“Mason was a good learning expe­rience and first real com­pe­tition away from home,” assistant coach Jordan Hintz said. There are sig­nif­icant take­aways for going forward with the season.” 

The team looks forward to shooting more than just trap at the Charger Invi­ta­tional on Sat­urday, Sept. 29. In addition to trap shooting, the team will be shooting sporting clays.