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Clay Dusters enjoying successful season

Leading the Park Rapids Clay Busters to first place at the Perham Invitational trap-shooting tournament on June 3 were (front from left) Zoe Flath, Brianna Weckwerth, Mikayla Hensel, Sally Yliniemi, Arianne Warmbold, Samantha Yliniemi; (back) coach Robin Walsh, Cole Girtz, Cole Bethel, Lee Edelman, Tayden George, Taylor Edelman, Owen Wagner, Kaiden Walsh, coach Steve Girtz. Submitted photo

The Park Rapids Clay Dusters trap-shooting team is enjoying another successful season.

The Clay Dusters claimed runner-up honors in the Class 3A Conference 5 standings this season with 20,098.50 points. Park Rapids scored 4,224.50 points in Week 1, 4,153 points in Week 2, 3,778.50 points in Week 3, 4,074 points in Week 4 and 3,868.50 points in Week 5. Hibbing took first with 24,836.50 points during the five-week competition.

Rounding out the nine-team conference standings were Becker (17,627), Cleveland (16,612.50), Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg (15,122.50), Osseo (14,943), Willmar (14,332.50), North Lakes Academy (8,597) and Pelican Rapids (5,071.50).

Cole Girtz had Park Rapids' top average of 22.50 to finish 11th overall in the conference with Blake Johnson following with a 22.40 average for 12th place. Ean Voigt (22.30) and Logan Veo (21.60) also made the top-25 for males. For females, Mikayla Hensel had a 19.70 average to finish eighth overall. Sally Yliniemi (19.50), Arianne Warmbold (19.20), Zoe Flath (18.90) and Brianna Weckwerth (18.50) also finished among the top-25 spots. Each shooter fired at 25 targets at each meet.

In the initial Mid-State Conference Championship at Wadena on May 17, Park Rapids finished fourth with 219 points. Staples-Motley won the title with 222 points while Wadena-Deer Creek and Detroit Lakes tied for second with 221 points. Pequot Lakes took fifth with 215 points and Crosby-Ironton was sixth with 180 points.

Detroit Lakes' Zach Frothman led the all-conference team by hitting 49 out of 50 targets. Earning all-conference honors for Park Rapids were Voigt (47 out of 50), Charlie Walsh (45 out of 50) and Girtz (45 out of 50). All-conference honorable mention honors went to Jake Johnson (44 out of 50).

Girtz was the top gun at the Bemidji Invitational on May 20 by hitting 98 targets, including 50 in a row. Park Rapids finished fourth in the varsity meet and took first in the junior varsity meet.

Park Rapids won the team title at the Perham Invitational on June 3. Girtz was first and Owen Wagner was third among males in the varsity meet while Yliniemi was first, Hensel was second and Warmbold took third for females in the varsity meet. Flath was first and Weckwerth was second for females while Tyler Edelman finished third for males in the JV meet.

Park Rapids will compete in Class 3A in the 2017 Trap Shooting Championships at Alexandria on Wednesday. The top-five teams at that tournament will qualify for the Minnesota State Championships at Prior Lake on June 24.

"I'm not surprised we've had a very successful season," said Park Rapids head coach Phil Stuemke. "We have a lot of good shooters and they're getting better each day. I expect them to do very, very well (at Alexandria)."

Menahga won the Class A Conference 9 title with 4,892 points. Following were Glenville-Emmons (4,400), Fridley (3,869), Verndale (3,254.50), Math and Science Academy of Woodbury (3,122.50), Fosston (2,863), Groves Academy (2,641) and Minnesota Valley Lutheran of New Ulm (2,154).

The top shooters for Menahga were Jadon Maaninga (22.30 average), Kristian Kocurek (21.60), Brock Kako (21.20), Jordan Notsch (20.40), Jeffrey Rockensock (20.20), Beth Rockensock (21.40), Melissa Trout (11.20) and Kiara Kocurek (9.00).