For the first time in the history of Olivet Community Schools, students have the opportunity to join a trap shooting team. Saturday, June 17 the 27-student strong team attended the state trap shooting tournament. Part of the USA High School Clay Target League, Olivet competed against 22 other Michigan teams and placed fifth. With a handful of other notable placements in the tournament, Jamie Bartley is proud of the team’s accomplishments in its first season.

Bartley was one of a few Olivet Eagle dads who saw the potential for an Olivet Community Schools Trap shooting team. They had heard about the sport growing in Michigan, which is one of about 20 states around the country that participate in the USA High School Clay Target League. Bartley started doing his research. He and the other dads wanted to see what it would take to get Olivet students such an opportunity.

“Some kids don’t do contact sports,” said Bartley.

Out of the 27 student participants, Bartley noted that several were not involved in contact sports of any kind. The trap shooting team provided an entirely new area for kids to get out of the house after school and be involved in something. The new sport also gave kids with previous gun and hunting experience another avenue in which to be involved. Some of the teammates had been shooting since they were little kids, according to Bartley.

Previous experience was noticeable among some of the students. Levi and Ty Krauss were two exceptional shooters on the team who also participate in other scholastic shooting events. Bartley was highly impressed by the improvement of the new shooters on the team as well. One of the novice teammates, Nathan Powers placed second out of 87 in the novice division, hitting 87 out of 100 shots. The state tournament brought several “firsts” out the students. Daniel Higgins shot his first 50 in a row on Saturday, and Bartley’s son Gavin shot 25 in a row and placed third in his division for hitting 95 out of 100 shots.

The progress of the team in its first season is exciting for Bartley and the other coaches and dads involved. Already they have students and parents asking about joining for the next season, registration for which will begin August 1. Trap shooting is also a rapidly growing sport across the country and in Michigan especially. Last year the Michigan State High School Clay Target League had seven teams. This year Olivet was one of about 20 schools in the league, and at Saturday, June 17 state tournament it was announced that there are an expected 40 more Michigan schools to join the league in the next season.

Bartley sees the great potential for students who are involved in trap shooting. Colleges with trap shooting teams, like Hillsdale College (which won a division three national title for its trap shooting team), offer scholarships to top-notch trap shooters.

The Olivet trap shooting team is like every other team at the school. Students are expected to attend one of the two weekly practices, they’re expected to keep their grades up, and student safety is paramount. The team is coed, and currently involves students from grades eight through 12. All students who pass their online certification or hunter safety course are allowed to participate.

And like other teams, the trap shooting team is in need of sponsors. There are currently no school dollars going to the team. Bartley hopes for more contributions in the future. Likewise, Bartley and the other coaches and dads are hoping for more student participation.