Five members of the Britton-Hecla/Langford Trapshooting Team will represent the squad at the national competition in Michigan this week. Team members from left to right are Jordan Dawson, Taylor Dinger, Dane Feldhaus, Tynan Bennett, and Carter Effling.
Shooters Riding Momentum
Members of the Britton-Hecla/Langford Trapshooting Team will be among nearly 2,000 shooters who have qualified for the High School Clay Target League National Championship in Mason, MI, next week.
Tynan Bennett, Jordan Dawson, Taylor Dinger, Carter Effling, and Dane Feldhaus will compete in the national event. Bennett, Effling, and Feldhaus are making their second straight trip to the national event.
The local shooters are coming off a second place finish in the state meet and are hoping to keep that momentum in the national shoot.
“I think finishing second at state will help us,” said Head Coach Ray Effling. “The boys know they can do well and know they have reached this level. Now they just have to do it again. The three kids returning also know what to expect.”
The team will practice in Michigan on Thursday, teams will shoot on Friday, and individuals will compete on Saturday. The top 400 individuals and top 80 of 240 teams will advance to Sunday’s round.
“We’d like to see every kid shoot on Sunday and for us to be in the top 80 teams,” noted Effling. “Everything matters. One missed target and you’ve dropped five to 10 places. It’s amazing how tough it is at the national level.”
The local squad finished 50th in the team competition a year ago, and Effling points to his team’s balance as its forte this time around.
“If we were a basketball team everybody would be averaging about 15 points a game,” Effling said. “Our kids’ ranking one through five changes every week, and that’s kind of a nice problem. And at any time we could have a kid shoot 25 straight out of this group.”
That balance helped the team qualify for the national tournament. Qualifying standards require that teams must have at least five shooters that averaged 19 of 25 targets for the season, and Britton-Hecla/ Langford had seven.
Effling predicted that individuals will need to score in the mid-90’s out of 100 to qualify for the finals on Sunday, while the team will need to break at least 440-450 targets out of
500. Britton-Hecla/Langford posted a 457 team score at the state meet just over three weeks ago.
“If the kids focus, relax, and remember what got them to Michigan, they will do just fine,” predicted Effling. “We don’t have to have great days to advance to Sunday, just decent days.”
The head coach also stressed the importance of the mental aspect of the competition.
“At the national level we cannot coach them while they are shooting. Once they go to the line they are on their own,” added Effling. “I think we learned last year how to be better coaches and help control our rhythm.
“Last year we had an issue of just going too fast when our team was on the firing line, so we have worked on our pace and not rushing ourselves. Once they are on the line they have to figure it out on their own, and hopefully we have prepared them to do that. And there are always unexpected things that happen. Sunday night at practice we had a dog come running across the field, and we have to be able to handle things like that. It really is all mental.”
Dana Voracek, Dave Price, Cal Carlson, and John Burger serve as assistant coaches for the team. Effling and Voracek, along with parents, will accompany the squad to the national tourney.