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Just 30 student athletes from three Minnesota high school teams participated in the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League in 2008. Six years later MSHSCTL has exploded into Minnesota’s fastest-growing high school sport.
This spring, the league will host 6,100 athletes from 185 high schools for its 2014 spring season, MSHSCTL announced in a press release Thursday. Starting in April, student athletes will work with 1,800 volunteer coaches to compete in trap shooting competitions at 106 shooting ranges throughout Minnesota.
Despite its rapid expansion in past years, the state’s Clay Target League remains the safest sport offered at Minnesota high schools. The league hasn’t reported a single injury or Gun-Free Zone violation at a school since 2001.
Instead of traveling to all corners of the state for their sport, these athletes participate by “virtual” competition. Practice and competitions take place at nearby shooting ranges and conferences are organized by a team’s size rather than geographic location. Shooters receive points at competitions, which are then ranked against other athletes within the same conference. A team’s score is determined by adding points from all qualifying athletes.
MSHSCTL plans to wrap up the spring league with two major events. The regular season officially concludes with a State Tournament, where the Minnesota State High School League will participate as a presenting partner. This marks the first and only state high school interscholastic athletic association in the U.S. to recognize and support trapshooting as a high school sport.
All teams are also invited to participate in individual and team competition at the 2014 MSHSCTL Championship this June in Alexandria, Minn. The organization expects 4,200 athletes and 10,000 attendees to convene for the tournament, which would make it the largest youth trapshooting event in the world.