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On Target

CCA’s Trap Shooting Team wraps up the 2017 season
Cierra Lacina, a junior, takes a shot. The team (considered a club) consists of middle and high school students. (photo by Chris Umscheid)

North Liberty Leader
HOMESTEAD– “Pull!” The command sent a bright orange clay disc into the late afternoon sky, followed by the report of a shotgun, a puff of smoke and the target being broken into fragments as the shot hit its mark.
Four more shooters took aim and reduced the targets to chunks before the quintet rotated to their next shooting position. Five shooters, five shots each, and then step aside and let the opposition take their 25 shots.
That’s how a trap shooting match goes.
Clear Creek Amana’s (CCA) Trap Shooting Team faced off against Cedar Rapids Prairie Monday, Oct. 16, at the Amana Sportsman’s Club, in Homestead. Quintets of middle school, junior varsity and varsity shooting sports enthusiasts took their turn on the firing line.
The team, 50-strong, is technically a “club” (not a sport sanctioned by the Iowa High School Athletic Association or the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union) and has participants ranging from sixth through 12th grades.
Safety is first and foremost; muzzles are always pointed in a safe direction, fingers are kept off of the trigger until ready to fire, and the guns are unloaded until it is each shooter’s turn. Eye and hearing protection are mandatory on the shooting line, and spectators are kept well behind the shooters. Nobody goes downrange.
“I think it’s a fun sport to do,” sophomore Jackson Whitehead said. Whitehead is in his second year on the team and, so far, has won three medals.
Alec Beckmann, also a sophomore, is also in his second year with the team. “I heard about it in middle school, in eighth grade, and I like shooting so…why not?” he said.
Whitehead said the sport requires a lot of patience. Knocking the clay birds out of the sky isn’t as easy as it may look.
“The birds come out at 45 miles per hour,” Beckmann said, “And depending on the weather, if it’s super-windy the birds could either go up or down when you pull the trigger, and ‘slow and steady wins the race.’”
Whitehead has future plans of becoming a teacher, and being a role model to the little kids in a field he noted is short of male teachers. Beckmann has his heart set on becoming a mechanic.
Not only does the sport appeal to a broad range of ages, but both genders, as well.
Dakota Lacina, a sixth-grader, is in her first year. Her older sister Cierra, a junior, got her hooked. Even though the shotgun she uses is nearly as tall as she is, Dakota learned to handle it safely and like a pro.
“When we get home, we have to pound her teeth back in,” her dad David Lacina joked referring to the recoil. She’s learned to just lean into it, however. Shooting trap has taught Dakota the importance of staying focused, and if a shot misses the target, “You have to just stay calm,” she said. She said she plans on continuing the sport into high school.
Joel Demmel, the coach for the team, said popularity in the sport has grown, largely through word of mouth.
Part of the appeal, he said, lies in students having the ability to target shoot and improve their skills while being among others with similar interests. Safety is always the number one priority, but so is having fun and enjoying the sport and the camaraderie. As a CCA-affiliated club, the group has adopted the school’s good conduct policies as well as the state’s academic eligibility policy. In addition, the students’ guns are prohibited from school grounds at all times.
Shooters practice safe and responsible gun handling at all times and conduct themselves professionally at the range, he said.
In addition to CCA and Prairie, Solon and Iowa City West also have trap shooting teams, as well as Cedar Rapids Kennedy, Jefferson and Xavier high schools.
The team’s final match of 2017 was Saturday, Oct. 21, and 2018 competition fires up in the spring, with practice starting in March and completion beginning in April. Team members are able to compete in various state and even national competitions, as well.
For more information or to join, contact Demmel at jdemmel45@gmail.com or clearcreekamanatrapteam@gmail.com.
Clear Creek Amana vs. Cedar Rapids Prairie, Monday, Oct. 16:
Top Team (overall)
Garret Wetjen (12)
Will Wetjen (9)
Ryan Beitz (11)
Treyton Bickel (9)
Quintin Becicka (8)

Varsity Places:
1st Prairie Black
2nd Clipper Blue ( Garret Wetjen (12), Michael Esmann (11), Jayden Knapp (10), Ryan Beitz (11), Janzie Mason (11))

Top Male Varsity - Garret Wetjen - 49/50
Top Female Varsity - Janzie Mason (won shootoff with Jayden Knapp) 41/50
Top Male JV - Will Wetjen 49.50
1st Place Intermediate (Middle School)
Declan Adams (8)
Quintin Becicka (8)
Dillon Schmidt (8)
Jakob Kinzenbaw (8)
Andrew Schlemme (7)

Top Male Intermediate - Quintin Becicka
Top Female Intermediate - Dakota Lacina (6)

Clear Creek Amana vs. Cedar Rapids Prairie, Saturday, Oct. 21:
Top Overall Squad (238)
Garret Wetjen - 50
Ryan Beitz - 48
Michael Esmann - 47
Tug Wright - 47
Brevin Mehman - 46 
1st Place Squad: Clipper Blue - Garret Wetjen, Treyton Bickel, Will Wetjen, Ryan Beitz, Michael Esmann (224)

Top Male Varsity
1st Place - Garret Wetjen - 50
2nd Place - Ryan Beitz - 48
3rd Place - Michael Esman 47 (shootoff with Tug Wright)

Top Female Varsity
1st Place - Cierra Lacina - 44
2nd Place - Jayden Knapp - 42
3rd Place - Allison Pettinger - 37

Junior Varsity
Top Male JV
1st Place - Brevin Mehman - 46
2nd Place - Cole Pfister - 45
3rd Place - Ajay Waterbury - 43

Top Female JV - none entered

1st Place Squad - Declan Adams, Drew Schlemme, Jakob Kinzenbaw, Quintin Becicka, Dillon Schmidt (211)

Top Male Intermediate
1st Place - Quintin Becicka- 46
2nd Place - Declan Adams- 43 
3rd Place - Drew Schlemme - 43

Top Female Intermediate - Dakota Lacina - 39