VCC trap team third in state

by Tom Coombe
The newest team at Vermilion Community College nearly won another state title.
After finishing first in 2018, Vermilion settled for an oh-so-close third at the second annual Minnesota Community Athletic Conference state clay target championship, held earlier in the month at Grand Rapids.
Vermilion won the MCAC’s inaugural state title in clay target, also known as trapshooting, last fall.
It was nearly a repeat performance as VCC’s t op five shooters nailed 473 out of 500 targets, just five behind champion Alexandria Tech and one shot away from runner-up Pine County Tech.
Vermilion also had the state’s JV champion, with Brandon Quern of Gonvick nailing 96 out of 100 targets to take first place.
Kendra Fink, who hails from Apple Valley, won the novice division with a score of 79.
Vermilion’s overall top five included both Quern and Carter Smith of Hibbing, who tied for sixth overall at 96.
Christopher Lachinski (Blaine) and Tore Tuin (Hibbing) tied for 20th at 94, while freshman Cade Wallace of Warroad tied for 28th on a cold and windy day, nailing 93 targets.
Over 220 students from a dozen junior colleges competed in the state’s fastest-growing sport.
In existence at the club level for several years in high school, clay target has expanded to the college ranks and has its own niche at Vermilion.
Boasting 45 shooters, VCC had the largest team in the league with clay target a seemingly perfect fit at a school that attracts many outdoor enthusiasts.
“It gives them something to look forward to every week,” said Wade Klingsporn, who coaches the Vermilion team. “They like the outdoors. They like to compete. Some are also involved in other sports but for some it’s the only sport they do.”
Conducted during the fall, the clay target season involves shooting once a week at the Vermilion Range Trap Club in Winton.
The team practiced and later had “virtual” competitions, shooting at home and recording the scores online to compare against other schools.
That led up to the state competition, which according to Klingsporn may have outgrown its current venue and may move to larger sites either in the Twin Cities or Alexandria in 2020.
Vermilion is an attraction for many athletes who want to continue to play traditional sports such as football and basketball, but clay target is becoming a draw in its own right.
“I think a few said that (VCC having clay target) swayed their decision,” said Klingsporn, an instructor at the school. “They probably would have come here anyway for our different programs, but this helped because they wanted to shoot trap. I just had a couple of them comment today that they wished the season was a little longer.”