MCHS trapshooters give it their best shot

Theo Tate

Montgomery County junior Josh Gilbert practices at the trapshooting range on Sept. 3. He’s competing in his first year with the MCHS trapshooting team. THEO TATE PHOTO

When Case Doyle enrolled at Montgomery County High School in his freshman year, he was looking for an after-school activity for the fall season.

So he joined the school’s trapshooting team.

“I didn’t want to do football,” Doyle said.

It turned out to be a good decision for the 6-foot-2 Doyle. This fall, he’s competing in his fourth and final year with the trapshooting team. He’s also one of the squad’s top performers.

“I didn’t like it that much because I wasn’t very good at it,” Doyle said. “Now, I have gotten somewhat better.”

Doyle is leading a young team that has four juniors and a large group of sophomores and freshmen. MCHS has 19 members on the squad.

“It’s a pretty young team,” MCHS coach Amanda Sullivan said. “I had a lot of seniors last year that made up most of my A team. We’re doing good. We have a lot of graduating seniors, but we’re still rocking and rolling and doing good.”

Sullivan is also an agriculture teacher at MCHS. She said the school has been fielding a trapshooting team ever since she started teaching there 11 years ago.

“I do (trapshooting) just for fun,” she said. “I’ve done it a little bit at competitions. But I didn’t do it at school. This is a big task for a lot of people around here. It came with the job.”

MCHS’ trapshooting season starts in August and runs through the first week of October. The school began its season on Aug. 31 with a home match against Warrenton.

“It was good,” Sullivan said of the season opener. “Usually when we have matches like when we have just one team against each other, they keep their own score and we keep our own score. It’s really more of just a chance to get together and try to get the kids a little competition.”

There are 16 schools — including MCHS — in the Eastern Missouri area that have a trapshooting team. The top seven teams advance to district competition later in the year.

“There’s some tough competition in our area,” Sullivan said. “It takes some practice, that’s for sure. We have a couple of kids who are shooting trap for the first time.”

The coach said the school started having its own trapshooting range six years ago.

“We used to drive down to Hermann to shoot at their range because there weren’t many places like this around here,” she said. “But then the superintendent at the time, Mr. (Michael) Gray, was able to help us get this up and going.”

Junior Ethan Rakers is the team’s top shooter. He joined the trapshooting team in his freshman year after hearing about it in his eighth-grade year.

“It takes a lot of practice,” Rakers said. “In my freshman year, I was not good enough to make the B team. I was No. 10 on the B team.”

Junior Josh Gilbert is in his first year with the team after playing football the last two years. He’s the squad’s No. 2 shooter.

“I grew up shooting all of the time with my dad,” said Gilbert, who started shooting when he was 6 years old. “He has taught me since I was old enough to hold (the gun) in my hands. I do it for 4-H, also.”

Doyle and Izzy Falloon are the only seniors on the team. Falloon joined the team this fall.

Doyle said he was looking forward to another trapshooting season since practices started in August.

“It gives you something to look forward to after school and keeps you out of trouble a little bit,” the senior said. “You build friendships over time.”  


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