Mitchell trapshooters take conference title
It's been one season and one conference title for the Mitchell High School trapshooting team.
The inaugural team recently wrapped up its final week of regular-season competition and found out it won Conference 2 on Saturday.
Mitchell led the seven-team conference with 2,702.5 total points, while Brandon Valley took second with 2,253 points. In five weeks of competition, Mitchell scored as many as 591.5 points and never scored lower than 508.
"A lot of them have certainly improved since we started," Mitchell coach Jerry Opbroek said about the team's first season. "Some of the younger shooters have really come a long ways. We had an eighth-grader shoot a 50-straight. They have been a great group to work with and it's been a lot of fun. That's what it's all about."
Mitchell is one of 24 schools competing in the second season of South Dakota High School Clay Target League, which had six schools compete last year. Opbroek said the conferences are setup on number of participants, with Conference 2 full of teams with around 15 participants.
Each week, points would be handed out to every team's top-10 shooters. If there was 70 shooters, the top shooter would receive 70 points, second would receive 69 points and it would continue on down.
"We really shot well. That point margin was large," Opbroek said. "It's all a team sport and they're a good bunch."
With the regular season finished, Mitchell is now prepping for the state tournament, which will be held on June 10 in Aberdeen. Mitchell will send nine shooters to state meet, led by senior Taylor Uithoven.
Uithoven was the top shooter in Conference 2 with a season average round of 23.5 targets hit and he finished tied for second overall in state. Caleb Simons, of Hot Springs High School, took home top individual honors with an average of 23.7.
"I just wanted to show up and do what I can do," Uithoven said. "You have to keep your head down and keep on the target. Stay confident and don't doubt yourself."
Uithoven along with four other seniors shot in the Mitchell Trap Club's regular league before the high school team started.
"He's our best shooter, but Logan Heinzmann, who is an eighth-grader, is right behind him," Opbroek said about Uithoven. "They are all wishing, I think, that we started this team a long time ago."
Along with Uithoven, Shane Fahey (22.7), Heinzmann (22.4), Austin Geldhof (21.5) and Kameron Brown (21.0) each placed in the conference's top 10.
"I've really enjoyed my time shooting on this team," Uithoven said. "I've learned a lot and we're like a family. We have fun and stay safe. We shot good every week and did well as a team."