HUTCHINSON and WILLLMAR, MN – In its third year offering clay target trap shooting as a sport, Ridgewater College’s men’s and women’s mixed team placed second in the Minnesota College Athletic Conference (MCAC) Clay Target Championship held October 19 in Alexandria.
More than 250 participants competed from 13 MCAC programs in the five-state region.
As a team, the Warriors have improved each year. In 2019, Warriors placed fourth at MCAC Championships. Last year they took third, and now in 2021, they claimed second place with 480 points, just seven points behind Bismarck State College and just ahead of Alexandria and Vermillion colleges.
For the regular season, the Warrior team finished in fourth place in the conference, according to Warrior Coach Mike Bjork. “To then see such great success at the Championships, along with fantastic weather, it was a great experience and end to the season for our shooters.” Twenty-five of the 30 Warriors competed on Tuesday, with two-thirds of them new to the Warrior team. The team had 10 perfect rounds of 25 out of 25 shots, including two perfect sessions of 50 out of 50 by Wyatt Borst (Lester Prairie) and Turner Laxen (Carver).
The best result among Warriors was Alexis Kubista of Lester Prairie shooting her way to a second place at the Championships in the Varsity Women’s Division. In MCAC overall Championship results, she tied for 18th, scoring a 98. She also received second-place honors and hardware for her commendable five-week regular season performance.
Norique Stuewe (Glencoe) took fifth in the Women’s Division in the regular season, and tied for 12th overall in the Championship on Tuesday. Sarah Lawrence (Henderson) placed 10th in the regular season.
“It just means everything to me,” Kubista said on Wednesday after the experience sank in. She practices all seasons of the year, at least three days a week and is in her fifth year of shooting. The first four were for Lester Prairie High School, where she earned championship honors for both fall and spring as a senior. “It shows me that the hard work I’ve put into this is paying off!” What was also awesome was having perfect weather and having her support team there, including her mom, grandma and great-grandma (unfortunately, her dad had to work).
In the men’s Varsity Division at the MCAC Championship, Borst tied for eighth in a tough field where the winner shot a perfect 100, followed by three 99 shooters. He shot a 97.
Top 10 finishers in other divisions at the MCAC Championship included Madison Conlin (Willmar) and Amber Mrozinski (Hugo) in Women’s JV; and Luke Mattson (Glencoe), Logan Groff (Lester Prairie), and Sam King (Willmar) in Men’s JV.
In addition to the Borst and Laxen 50-straight shot successes, 25-straight round contributions came from Nathan DeVries (Gaylord), Kaylee Johnson (Kerkhoven), Kubista (twice), Derek Leuze (Willmar), and Jacob Stallings (Murdock).
Regular season 25-Straight Club members who succeeded at the feat twice included Borst, Connor Hertzog (Winsted), Kubista, and Stuewe. Also earning 25-Straight Club honors this season were DeVries, Devin Schauer (Hamburg), Carson Tauber (Glenwood), and Leuze.
Hutchinson league coaches are Bjork and Bruce Pawelk, while Dean Anfinson and Troy Haverly work with the Willmar squad. For conference and championship competitions, the two Ridgewater squads combine for a unified Warrior team.
“Last year, the Championship rounds were done virtually (due to the pandemic) and spread over two days,” Bjork explained. “The second day was horrible. It was cold, raining, and the winds were blowing so hard the kids were having a hard time standing up! This year was completely different. We could not have asked for better weather…. It was a beautiful day to shoot and our athletes took full advantage of the awesome weather.”
It was also much better to compete in person this year. “Having the championship in-person was such a blessing – on the same day, at the same place, under the same conditions, levels playing field,” Bjork said. “The athletes’ energy was higher, as was the coaches’. It gave us a chance to bring both Ridgewater squads together as a team and we came prepared. All of us coaches are proud of our Warriors this season.”
2021 MCAC Championship Ridgewater Individual Athlete Results
INDIVIDUAL (VARISTY AND JV determined by average during regular season)
(Places are Overall – Co-Ed) (T = Tied for)
VARISTY, HOMETOWN PLACE SCORE
Alexis Kubista, Lester Prairie T-5 98/100
Wyatt Borst, Lester Prairie T-10 97/100
Norique Stuewe, Glencoe T-12 96/100
Jacob Ross, Lester Prairie T-21 95/100
Connor Hertzog, Winsted T-33 94/100
Nathan DeVries, Gaylord T-33 94/100
Derek Leuze, Willmar T-49 93/100
Turner Laxen, Carver T-60 92/100
Devin Schauer, Hamburg T-70 91/100
Jacob Stallings, Murdock T-79 90/100
Michael Dietz, Glencoe T-79 90/100
Kaylee Johnson, Kerkhoven T-79 90/100
Dylan Dahlke, Brownton T-93 88/100
Joseph Mikosch, Willmar T-106 86/100
Sarah Lawrence, Henderson T-114 85/100
Nick Kayser, Marshall T-124 82/100
Amanda Anderson, Montevideo T-133 80/100
Cole Nelson, Chanhassen 138 78/100
Marcus Feltmann, Lester Prairie 142 68/100
JR VARSITY, HOMETOWN PLACE SCORE
Luke Mattson, Glencoe T-5 90/100
Logan Groff, Lester Prairie T-7 89/100
Samuel King, Willmar T-10 88/100
Madison Conlin, Willmar T-20 82/100
Tanner Friesen, Howard Lake T-25 81/100
Amber Mrozinski, Hugo T-33 77/100