Clay Target Team

The Saint Thomas Academy Clay Target team welcomes anyone in grades 6-12 with their firearm safety certificate. The coaches and captains are willing to help anyone receive their firearm safety certificate and are willing to help anyone who hadn’t shot a firearm before. There is a minimal requirement of shooting once per week. Weekly scores will be posted on the Minnesota High School Clay Target league’s Web site. Also, every year the team travels to Alexandria and shoots in one of the largest shooting competitions.  

Team Captains

Zach Apitz '17
Austin Grove '17
Kate Wohlberg '17
Meg Hughes '18
Abby Libbesmeier '18
Alex Moeller '18

Contact Information for Moderators
Mr. Jeff Grove - the.groves@comcast.netSFC Doug Hurd - dhurd@cadets.com

Article by Nolan Sullivan '17

Posted January 2017

As an experiment, I went around school asking students what they thought were the top three sports played by high school students in Minnesota.  Just as was expected, the top answer was football, however, after that the answers started to vary.  It seemed most students believed that either basketball or hockey was second and even fewer said that baseball may be third but it was quite clear they were unsure of their answer.  Yes, I will admit that football is indeed the number one sport played by high schoolers.  However, no one correctly answered which sport came in second.  The fact is, the number two sport in Minnesota is Clay Target shooting.  

This sport began in 2001 and has exponentially grown since.  This year, according to the Star Tribune, 8,600 Minnesota high school students will take part, the most students they have had participate to date.  The Minnesota Clay Target League consists of two main subdivisions –  Trap and Skeet.  The Washington Post summarizes each of the two in the following, “Skeet - A skeet shooting field has two ‘houses,’ one high, one low, that sit to the right and left of the shooters’ eight stations from which the call is made for the clay ‘birds’ to be released.  The targets emerge from the houses at a high rate of speed, never more than 35 yards away.  As the bright red clay discs cross in an arc before the shooter aims the shotgun and fires, hoping to break the targets.  Trap - Shooters fire from five stations in straight-away fashion.  A shooter prepares by bringing the gun to the shoulder and shouting ‘pull.’  A target is released from a hidden center location.  The clay ‘bird’ flies at 76 feet a second and the trap shooter squeezes the trigger from a 16-yard station but can also shoot from 27 yards and any distance in between.”     

The Saint Thomas Academy Clay Target Team is run by SFC Doug Hurd and Mr. Jeff Grove.  They shoot at the South Saint Paul Rod and Gun Club.  Unlike other sports, the teams competing never have to travel to compete against other teams and the scores are submitted to the league electronically.  The scores are broken up by the two different events: trap and skeet.  This fall, the Clay Target team had a phenomenal season.  More than 40 shooters came out this fall, and they are expecting to have more than 60 shooters come out in the spring – the most STA has seen since the Clay Target Team first started.  In fact, Zachary Apitz ’17 placed second in the conference for trap shooting, averaging 22.90 out of 25 for the men's division.  Also, Kate Wohlberg (VIS ’17) placed second in trap shooting, averaging 22.70 out of 25 in the women’s division.  The women shooters of the Clay Target Team also did incredibly well in the skeet event.  Wohlberg placed first in the women’s division shooting an average of 20.20 out of 25.  Margaret Hughes (VIS ’18) came in a close second scoring an average of 20.10 out of 25.         

This growing sport is bringing more and more people in every season.  As the seasons go by, the league continues to improve as feedback comes in.  The Clay Target Team has their next season this spring and are hoping to improve their already impressive scores.