Locked, loaded, and ready to compete. Students from Gowanda High School are stepping up to the line, five at a time, practicing target trap shooting.
“It’s fun to do,” said Connor Wight, a junior at the high school. “Follow through, keep both eyes open, pay attention to where the bird is going.”
The junior is among the 27 students who have showed up to be a part of the team during its first year. They come to the Evans Rod and Gun Club twice a week, going through practice rounds.
A squad – made up of five students – line up, each shooting five times. Each student receives one point for every clay bird they hit.
The school is one of 50 in the state with this club. The state started recognizing it as a school activity in 2016; then, about a handful of schools participated; now, 1100 students are involved.
“I just love giving students a unique opportunity with an untraditional sport,” said Ryan Schwarzott, the team’s coach. “You get these kids who are into outdoors – hunting, fishing, shooting, and give them an opportunity they can’t get at a lot other places.”
The trap team is sending around 10 to 15 students to the state championship in June.