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Four members of the Colfax Scholastic Trap Team made the 660 mile trip to Marengo, Ohio to take part in the 2021 Scholastic Clay Target Program’s (SCTP) national trap shoot. Once there, they found themselves competing against 1,115 other athletes.
Unfortunately for the Colfax team, competitive squads are composed of five athletes. Dummy or ghost scores aren’t used. That means the Colfax team wasn’t even listed as being in the competition, according to Jim Nosker, Colfax’ head coach.
If the team had been able to get a fifth athlete to make the trip, they would have been competing as a mixed, or open squad, because four different skill levels would have been on it. It’s better to have squads of all the same skill level though. That’s because some coaches of large teams pad their open squads, Nosker said.
He explained some coaches put four top varsity shooters with one JV or intermediate/advanced shooter in the same open squad. By comparison, a small team like Colfax uses everyone they have available on the open squad, because they lack a full squad of any one skill level.
Besides American Single Trap, the shoot also hosted other trap shooting disciplines such as International Trap, Doubles, and Handicap. At the same time, nationals were also taking place for Skeet and Sporting Clays, meaning there were thousands of high school and college athletes rubbing shoulders with each at the Cardinal Shooting Center, home of the Scholastic Clay Target Program nationals,
Attending the nationals is a worthwhile experience for every scholastic trap shooter, Nosker said. They get to experience competition on a large scale, meet athletes from across the country, view a myriad of products and firearms specifically designed for their sport, talk with college recruiters, and be part of one of the largest shooting events in the world. The Scholastic Action Shooting Program’s National match is conducted at the Cardinal Center the same week.
Colfax’ foursome shot very well on their first 100 targets. But the second day’s 100 birds caused them problems, Nosker said. On the second day it rained heavily all morning on the first flight, but there was little wind and the birds flew well. However, Colfax shot in the afternoon flight, which was after the rain front had passed. There was wind coming off the back side of the front, causing the birds to fly high and unpredictably. Colfax’ athletes struggled with making the adjustments required.
Three of the athlete’s parents used the trip as a springboard for family activities. One family headed to Lake Erie to see the sights along that Great Lake, another headed to West Virginia to see steam trains and sample brown trout fishing. The third visited relatives in Indiana. All of the athletes said they had fun and those eligible to come back next year said they looking forward to returning to the 2022 National.