Northeast Range Trap Team competes in state championships in Alexandria

Seanne Prigge receives a 25-straight patch from Head Coach Chad Loewen at the Minnesota State Trapshooting Championship held in Alexandria.

The Northeast Range Trap Team traveled to Alexandria on June 13 to compete in the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League Championship.
The nine-day event boasts being the worlds largest trapshooting competition and invites were open to just over 12,000 Minnesota athletes this year.
With 19 trap houses spread out over the course of a mile, teams that have competed online all spring finally came face to face to compete.
Each day of the competition features a conference and attendance averages about 1000 athletes per day and triples in attendance with spectators.
Opening ceremonies began with USA Clay Target League President John Nelson telling the crowd that, “In Minnesota, the state of hockey, trapshooting now has more participants than boys and girl’s hockey combined and continues to grow.”
He went on to say that “With more than 50 million shots fired since this Leagues inception nationwide, there has not been a single reported injury. That’s contributed to our many volunteers and coaches who make safety our number one priority.”
After the National Guard raised the flag, 907 athletes from Class 4A immediately got down to business.
The 100 round event was split up with 50 rounds shot in the morning and 50 more in the afternoon. With ninety-five 25 straights, twelve 50 straights and two 75 straights shot throughout the day, the scores looked more like a professional competition than a high school event.
In overall team competition (top five scores from each team regardless of classification) Northeast Range finished 12th out of 36 teams in attendance and had to rely on some good shooting by three of their JV athletes.
Their combined score of 463 included Tracker Koivisto 97, Jon Hakala 94, Josh Pohlman 92, Bralyn Lislegard 91 and Seann Prigge 89. Hakala, Lislegard and Prigge entered as JV.
NER varsity squads struggled to keep up with other schools such as Hibbing, Hopkins and Irondale who placed 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively. NER varsity finished 20th out of 27 teams scoring 452. Hibbing won the event with 483 points.
It was a different story in JV competition. The Nighthawks scored 444 points and took home the third place trophy out of 29 teams. Hopkins finished 1st with 452. In Novice competition NER placed sixth out of 16 teams scoring 371.
Individually many athletes posted their highest scores yet since the team’s inception four years ago. 22 out of the 30 athletes they sent scored 40 or higher in either the morning or afternoon session which is more than double the 40 plus scores posted on average each week during the regular season.
They also shot five 25 straights, 3 of them coming from athletes who had never shot one before.
Perfect scores were shot by Tracker Koivisto, Robert Daugherty, Seann Prigge and Bralyn Lislegard.
Tracker Koivisto lead the Nighthawks shooting 97/100 which included two 25 straights. Although Koivisto has been a standout on the team since its beginning, this was the first time he has ever earned a patch.
“I shoot a Remington Versamax 12 gauge with a modified choke and I got it as a gift for my birthday.”
Remarked the soon to be senior. “The first time I shot trap I shot an 11. I like trapshooting because it’s challenging.”
When asked if he has any advice for other shooters? “Just stay focused and don’t over think or anticipate the bird.”
Koivisto’s championship average of 24.25 is his personal best. He entered the event as varsity with a regular season average of 22. Koivisto tied for eighth place overall on the day, just two targets away from first place Jack Knaus from Kimball High School who had the overall high score of 99/100.
Bralyn Lislegard who entered the event as a JV shooter with a season average of 17.17, shot a perfect score of 25/25 in the first round which was his personal best.
The soon to be junior finished it off with 19, 24 and a 23 for a total of 91/100. His championship day average of 22.75 helped him place 10th overall in JV.
Maizy Sundblad, a sixth grader from NER who joined the team this year ended up coming home from her first state shoot with a 3rd place medal in the Novice girl’s division. She broke 78/100 targets, another personal best with her highest round being 22/25.
Seann Prigge who joined the team for the first time this year as a junior was also among those who shot a perfect score. His 25/25 in the second round was his first which earned him a patch and his final score of 89/100 was one of the top 5 team scores used give the team a 12th place finish out of the 36 teams in attendance.
“I shoot a Benelli M1 Super 90 with a modified choke” said Prigge. “The first time I ever shot trap I got an 8. Trapshooting is a fun way to practice for hunting season”.
Individually the Nighthawks had several athletes place in the top 25 in their respected divisions. Tracker Koivisto-8th overall. JV boys Jon Hakala-5th, Bralyn Lislegard-10th, Seann Prigge-16th. JV girls Natalie Nelmark-21st JV, Erin Backe-24th. Novice boys Ben Cavalier-15th. Novice girls Maizy Sundblad-3rd, Else Bee-10th and Lydia Wright-22nd.