For the fourth year in a row, the Park Rapids Clay Dusters trapshooting team will compete at the Minnesota State High School League Clay Target State Tournament.
The Clay Dusters qualified for the MSHSL Tournament by taking first among 33 Class 2A teams by hitting 484 out of 500 targets at the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League Trap Shooting Championships at Alexandria on June 11.
Cole Girtz led the Clay Dusters to the top spot among 2A teams by hitting a perfect 100 out of 100 targets. Girtz was the only competitor to hit all 100 targets in that class. Jack Hensel tied for eighth place with a 97, Jaden Powers and Kaiden Walsh tied for 15th place with 96s, and Brendan Landstrom and Cole Bethel tied for 26th by hitting 95 targets to round out Park Rapids’ team score.
Also competing for Park Rapids in the varsity male division were Owen Wagner (tied for 39th at 94), Tayden George (tied for 39th at 94), Aaron McDonald (tied for 51st at 93), Shawn Ohm (tied for 67th at 92), Nicholas Weise (tied for 120th at 89), Jacob Zinniel (tied for 201st at 84), Taylor Edelman (tied for 244th at 81) and Isaac Hoverson (tied for 244th at 81). There were 239 competitors in that division.
McKenzie Girtz tied for fourth place in the varsity female division by hitting 92 targets while Megan Offerdahl tied for 10th place with 88 targets. There were 49 competitors in that group.
Following the Clay Dusters in the team standings were Wheaton (481), Minnewaska Area (480), Kingsland (472) and Becker (468). Paynesville (467), Mabel-Canton (466), Stephen-Argyle (461), Apple Valley (460) and Redwood Valley (460) rounded out the top 10.
Competing among the 239 competitors in the male junior varsity division for Park Rapids were Brent Ohm (tied for 21st at 88), Sam Meier (tied for 90th at 79), Riley Payne (tied for 113th at 77) and Lee Edelman (tied for 113th at 77). Tanner Pickett hit 72 targets to tie for 40th place among 155 competitors in the novice male division. Allie Edelman tied for 43rd place in the female junior varsity division by hitting 65 targets. There were 58 competitors in that division.
After eight days of competition, the Clay Dusters were in sixth place overall in the team standings. Blaine led the way at 493 while Alexandria (489), Badger-Greenbush-Middle River (488), Marshall (488) and New Prague (487) followed. Brainerd also hit 484 targets. Only Class 9A still had to compete as the top 40 teams advance to the state tournament.
Park Rapids tuned up for the Alexandria Tournament by winning the Mid-State Conference title and taking first in the Class 2A Conference 5 standings.
The MSHSL Tournament will be held Friday (June 21) at the Minneapolis Gun Club at Prior Lake. In the previous three state appearances, the Clay Dusters placed 24th with a 442 after taking second at Alexandria with a 469 in 2016; finished 12th with a 455 after taking first at Alexandria with a 477 in 2017; and finished third with a 485 after taking second at Alexandria with a 488 last season. St. Michael-Albertville repeated as state champs with a 491 last year.