by Bruce Strand, Sports Editor
The Zimmerman trap-shooting team, in its first year, has qualified for the state high school meet coming up Saturday.
Zimmerman placed a close third with 478 among 31 teams in a qualifier at Alexandria behind St. Francis (481), and Monticello (479).
Calvin Waterhouse led Zimmerman with 98 of 100, followed by Mack Riley (96), Josh Wudtke (96), Alex Riley (95), and Clay Sandy (93).
Twenty-four teams in five classes, out of 185 teams competing, advanced to state competition, sanctioned by the Minnesota State High School League for the first time this year. Zimmerman will shoot Saturday at Minneapolis Gun Club in Prior Lake. It’s a five-day event.
Unfortunately only one of the Thunder top five will shoot at state. Wudtke has a graduation party, and the Riley brothers and Waterhouse a team football camp.
“We didn’t know we’d make it to state,” said Kim Riley, faculty adviser, about the conflicts.
Sandy will shoot at state along with Eli Muellenbach, Henry Egland, Tyler Johnson and Matt Luke. Alternates are Tyler Michalski and Damon Ziebarth.
Teams are placed in conferences based on team size. Zimmerman had 33 members (31 boys, two girls), so they were in 3A, middle of five classes.
In conference, Wudtke averaged 22.1 out of 25, ranking third. Alex Riley was eighth, Waterhouse 12th. Zimmerman did its weekly 50 rounds at Minnesota Sportsmen’s Club near Zimmerman.
It’s a club team (self-funded) with five volunteer coaches and the adviser, Kim Riley, an elementary teacher.
“My boys’ (Mack and Alex) grandfather was Tom Knapp, who died last year,” said Kim Riley, referring to a renowned shooter, “and I was looking for a team for them, and someone else wanted to start a (school) team. … So that’s how it started.”