Gunning it at nationals: Clay target team competes in big tourney

Published 8:44 pm Wednesday, August 1, 2018

The Austin High School High School clay target shooting team made program and sport history when it competed in the first ever National Championship for high school clay target shooting in Mason, Michigan on July 12-16.

Austin sent a total of 12 competitors to the national meet with all of them competing in the individual meet. Austin also fielded two teams of five in the 173-team meet, with one Austin squad taking 65th overall and the other squad taking 97th overall.

“We went there just hoping to make a good showing,” Austin head coach Gus Maxfield said. “It’s a national tournament with a lot of stiff competition and we didn’t expect to qualify for the second day. It was exciting to be there. It was a great experience for the kids and I’m really happy for them. They shot really well and they have every right to be proud.”

Email newsletter signup

Riley Retterath had the highest individual finish for Austin as he hit 189 out of 200 targets to finish to take 256th place overall. There were 13 shooters in the field that went 100-for-100 on the first day of the two-day individual meet.

Logan Retterath takes a shot at a clay pigeon at the Cedar Valley Conservation Club. Eric Johnson/

“It was unbelievable. The kids there are super good and the environment over there was crazy,” Retterath said. “It was fun. I think it shows how much trap and clay target shooting is growing as a sport. Itt’s not as competitive as baseball or football, you just come out and have fun.”

Lauren Holets also had a strong showing for Austin as she connected on 187 out of 200 targets to take 311th place overall. Holets said she gets out and shoots every week to stay sharp and focused and she enjoyed the opportunity of competing against the best high school shooters in the country.

“It just felt like we did something really good. We were competing against the best people in the nation,” Holets said. “It felt awesome to be there. We’ve gotten really good. Everybody tries to make it to every tournament. It’s a great team.”

Seth Gerber took 351st for Austin with a 184 and Jackson Hollund took 376th with a 182. Only 400 shooters advanced to the second day of competition.

Austin was able to compete in the national tournament by qualifying through its regular season averages. Maxfield said it was a great season for the squad.

“They’ve been shooting very well,” Maxfield said. “Some of these kids have been with us since seventh grade and they just graduated this year. We’ve got a good, strong team coming up in the future too.”

The Austin clay target team, back row, from left: Mason Silbaugh, Riley Retterath, Moragn Schubert, Logan Retterath and Lauren Holets. Front row: Coach Gus Maxfield, Jackson Hollund, Grady Shupe, Codie Wolfe, Lucas Haugland, Seth Gerber, Joe Mentel and Lane Meyer. Photo provided