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.