by Eric Oslund
The Zimmerman trap shooting team is closing in on the end to their best season in program history.
They won their district shoot against Elk River and Rogers, won their conference for the third year in a row, and also finished third at their section shoot on Thursday, June 15. By doing that, they became one of 40 teams to qualify for the state tournament on Saturday, June 24, and are also sending four shooters as individuals.
It’s a lot to accomplish in just four years, and head coach Bob Rajchel gives all the credit to the kids.
“The kids are extremely enthusiastic about shooting,” Rajchel began. “They’ve been fantastic. They’ve been enthusiastic. They seem to love to shoot. They come with positive attitudes, they work well with their coaches, it’s just been very fun.”
While competing at state, Brian Rajchel, Mason Riddel, Calvin Waterhouse and Tyler Johnson – all of whom finished the season in the top-100 overall shooters – will be competing as individuals. Brian Rajchel, Riddel and Johnson will also be a part of the team that is going, and will be joined by Clay Sandy and Jacob Murphy, with Nick Kliever listed as a first-team alternate.
This pairing of five shooters has never worked together throughout the season, as they were chosen from Zimmerman’s top-5 qualifiers at the section tournament. So the week leading up to the state tournament is really just getting them adjusted to shooting with one another, as well as continuing to improve their technique and performance.
There are five different shooting positions, and each member of the group will get five shots at one and then rotate to the next until they have shot at all five. There is a comfort that needs to be developed when doing this, as each spot has a little bit different angle at the clay pigeon flying through the air, and that’s what the coaches are hoping their players can get used to.
“We want them to get into the rhythm of shooting with their teammates that they’re going to shoot with at state,” the head coach said. “So whoever is going to shoot in position one, two, etc., that’s where they start when we’re here at practice.”
This is just the second time Zimmerman has sent a team to state, so Bob Rajchel’s hope is that his kids just go out an enjoy the moment.
He doesn’t want them to get overwhelmed by the fact that it’s state, or try to do so much in hopes of finishing high. He just wants them to go out and do what they have been doing all season long because if they do, he knows it will be enough to finish in a good spot.
“My personal expectations is that they just go have fun and shoot their average,” the head coach said. “And if they do that, we’ll all be happy. We’ll be doing great.”