WATCH: 'You couldn’t ask for much better'; Fargo North clay target team to send 11 athletes to nationals
An increase from the pair of shooters that went last year, North will send a school record 11 students to the USA High School Clay Target National Championship.
The clay target team at Fargo North has come a long way in a short amount of time. The Spartans sent 33 athletes to the state championships earlier this month. Now, they’re set to make school history at the national level.
As North’s first two athletes to compete at nationals last year, Hunter Van Raden and Taylor Martin had no idea they were paving the way for more of their classmates to compete at the USA High School Clay Target National Championship.
“I was like, ‘we should go,’ and we went and it was a blast," said senior Hunter Van Raden. Now this year we have got 11 people going and you couldn’t ask for much better.”
To grow from two to 11 national qualifiers requires a bigger team and that means spreading the word to fellow students.
“They go, ‘what’s trap?’ so then I usually have to explain to them what that is," said senior Taylor Martin. "Then they always want to come out and try it.”
They might not have been familiar with the sport, but apparently once you start, you are hooked.
“Usually if they’re willing to try it, they end up loving it,” said junior Brayden Benson.
The trap team at North started with just a handful of athletes. It’s grown to over 50 in just a few short years.
“The team is just getting bigger and bigger with every year, and trap is such an unknown sport," Benson said. "To get the word out, it really means a lot.”
The attraction of the sport itself has also been fueling this growth. Students who have been shooting since grade school and students who first picked it up in high school find common ground at the shooting park.
“It’s one of those sports you can do for the rest of your life and anybody can do it," Van Raden said. There’s people in wheelchairs that can do this. And it doesn’t affect you whether you’re eight feet tall, you’re two feet tall. It doesn’t matter. You can be anything out here and you can shoot with the best of them.”
But maybe it is not so much what you are doing, but the people with whom you are doing it.
“We are a team, but we’re also a family," Martin said. "We keep it pretty close and we all want to help each other and we all want everybody to do their best.”
The national championship starts Wednesday in Mason, Michigan.