Clay Dusters finish 12th at MSHSL state tourney
There were plenty of surprising finishes at the Minnesota State High School League Clay Target State Tournament at the Minneapolis Gun Club at Prior Lake on Friday, June 21.
New Prague captured the team title as the five-member squad hit 484 out of a possible 500 targets. New Prague entered the 40-team state field ranked No. 6 after hitting 487 targets during the state-qualifying tournament at Alexandria.
Alexandria, the No. 2 seed with a 489, finished second with a 482 while Lakeville South, the No. 23 seed with a 479, took third with a 482.
The Park Rapids Clay Dusters ended up placing 12th with a 470 to cap off a fourth consecutive trip to state. The Clay Dusters finished 24th with a 442 in 2016, 12th with a 455 in 2017 and third last season with a 485. Park Rapids entered state as the No. 6 seed with a 484.
Leading Park Rapids were Cole Girtz with a 96 (23, 24, 25, 24), Jack Hensel with a 96 (with four rounds of 24), Brendan Landstrom with a 95 (25, 25, 24, 21), Jaden Powers with a 92 (22, 24, 22, 24) and Kaiden Walsh with a 91 (24, 22, 22, 23). Of the 200 competitors, only Wayzata's Max Bunning hit all 100 targets while seven others hit 99 targets.
During the spring league, Girtz led Class 2A Conference 5 with a 24.70 average while Powers and Walsh were tied for the No. 4 spot with 23.00 averages. Hensel and Landstrom tied for the No. 6 spot with 22.80 averages.
Also finishing ahead of Park Rapids were Hopkins (482), Wayzata (480), Tri-City United (479), Marshall (478), Blaine (476), Fairmont (475), Roseau (474) and Northfield (471). The state seeds for those teams were Hopkins (No. 16 at 480), Wayzata (No. 29 at 477), Tri-City United (No. 28 at 477), Marshall (No. 4 at 488), Blaine (No. 1 at 493), Fairmont (No. 9 at 483), Roseau (No. 11 at 481) and Northfield (No. 39 at 474).
Following Park Rapids in the team standings and rounding out the 40-team field were Minnewaska Area (469), Hibbing (468), Annandale (467), Bemidji (465), Park High (465), Hastings (464), Alden-Conger (464), Forest Lake (464), Hermantown (463), Foley (461), New London-Spicer (461), Champlin Park (461), Lakeview (461), United South Central (460), Perham (459), Irondale (459), Cambridge-Isanti (458), Monticello (458), Zimmerman (457), Delano (457), Spring Grove (456), Badger-Greenbush-Middle River (456), Prior Lake (455), Duluth East (452), Wheaton (450), Red Wing (450) and Brainerd (446).
BGMR entered state as the No. 3 seed with a 488, Brainerd was the No. 7 seed with a 484, Hibbing was the No. 8 seed with a 483 and Wheaton was the No. 10 seed with a 481.
There was no surprise who was the top gun in the individual tournament as New Prague's Woodrow Glazer won his third straight state title by hitting all 100 targets. Brainerd's Blake Schibonski was the state runner-up at 99 while Wheaton's Rubin Lyngaas took third with a 99.
Also earning All-State honors at 99 were Fairmont's Jacob Bocock, Northfield's Sam Miller, BGMR's Owen Novacek, Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg's Hunter Wilts and Roseau's Owen Moser.
Girtz tied for 77th place out of 102 competitors with a 91. Girtz qualified for the individual state tournament by sharing the No. 4 spot during league competition with a 24.70 average. Glazer was tied for the No. 9 spot with a 24.50 average, Schibonski was tied for the No. 59 spot with a 23.90 average, Lyngaas and Bocock were tied for the No. 6 spot with 24.60 averages, Miller was tied for the No. 33 spot with a 24.10 average, Novacek was tied for the No. 19 spot with a 24.30 average, Wilts was tied for the No. 24 spot with a 24.20 average and Moser was tied for the No. 43 spot with a 24.00 average entering state.
Several of the top competitors struggled during the individual tournament. Annandale's Jake Mader, who had the top average of 24.90 entering state, tied for 90th with an 88 while Marshall's Karter Desmet finished tied for 29th with a 96 and St. Charles' Isaac Peterson tied for 84th with a 90. Desmet and Peterson entered state with the second-best averages of 24.80. Bunning, who tied Girtz with a 24.70 average, finished tied for 21st with a 97.