Magical first year continues for trap shooting team


The Monticello trap shooting team captured top honors in Class AAA at the Clay Target Shooting end of year meet in Alexandria last weekend. (Photo courtesy MSHSL Clay Target Shooting League)
The Monticello trap shooting team captured top honors in Class AAA at the Clay Target Shooting end of year meet in Alexandria last weekend. (Photo courtesy MSHSL Clay Target Shooting League)

A program in it’s first year is supposed to achieve some milestones.
There should be the first good meet, the first bad meet. They’ll set a
baseline of records that are meant to be broken in the future. They’ll
have some success, and they’ll struggle some.
Or, if you’re the Monticello trap shooting team, you’ll just go out
and win the Minnesota State High School League’s Clay Target League
Class AAA Championship and earn a bid to the first-ever MSHSL state
meet the following week.
Not a bad way to start a program.
“It was unbelievable just to stand there as a coach and see the
smiles,” said Coach Tammy Baloun. “I was just overwhelmed. I’m
extremely proud.”
Led by Tyler Talbot’s career-best performance, Monticello scored 479
to best more than 30 teams in the Class AAA field.
The score, which was the total score of Monticello’s top five shooters
(out of 11) actually matched the score of St. Francis. But Talbot’s 99
(out of 100) tied for the best individual score of the day, helping
Monticello win the tiebreaker with St. Francis to claim the
Monticello’s other top scorers at the meet were Ryder Beckman, Hunter
Hedtke, Luke Swanson and Bailey Wilkinson.
Talbot was especially brilliant.
He lost a tiebreaker for the high gun award at the meet, finishing
second, but it did nothing to diminish a performance that saw him hit
his last 77 birds.
“He had a phenomenal day,” said Baloun, adding that Talbot hadn’t put
together a single perfect round before Sunday’s meet. “He stepped up
when he needed to. In my mind, he’s a championship shooter.”
The Magic had plenty of other shooters step up too, as they took home
several awards at every level.
Hedtke was awarded for having the top year-long average in Class AAA,
while third place went to Swanson.
Magic teammate Ashley Taylor took home top honors for the females in
Class AAA, while Mikayla Baloun finished second.
In the novice division at the state meet, Monticello, as a team, took
second in Class AAA. They were led by Kyle Bushman’s individual
second-place finish.
Monticello’s highest finisher at the junior varsity level was Mikayla
Baloun, as she earned a fifth-place finish.
At the varsity level, Monticello took home top team honors, and
finished with the second and fifth highest shooters on the male side
in Talbot and Beckman (97), respectively, while Taylor (86) took third
place on the female side.
As a team, Baloun said it was the best she’s seen them shoot thus far.
“It was just fun,” she said. “They all came together.”
Monticello entered the meet fresh off a conference championship,
expecting they could compete for a top spot. But with so much
uncertainty, they weren’t sure how high to aim.
“We knew we had the capability of doing really well,” said Baloun.
“But being our first year, it was a bit of an unknown.”
The Magic certainly aren’t an unknown anymore.
This Saturday they’ll head to Prior Lake for the first ever MSHSL
State Trap Shooting Meet. It combines schools from across the classes,
bringing together the top 24 teams from last weekend’s competition.
The top five shooters at last weeks meet will be the five who
represent the Magic at the state meet, along with alternates Cody
Hoffman and Beaux Ye, who will only shoot in the case of illness or
injury. Otherwise, the Magic have to roll with their five shooters, as
unlike at the meet in Alexandria, they don’t get to drop any scores
this weekend.
Baloun is hopeful that her team can keep the magical first year
chugging along against increased competition.
“I would like to place,” said Baloun, meaning a spot in the top five.
“We’ve got a lot of competition, these are the top of the top. But we
have the ability.”

Regardless of what happens on Saturday, Baloun said the season, and
especially last weekend, is a “huge accomplishment” for her team, and
she was clear that they owe the success to a lot of different people.
“I can’t say enough about the support of the other coaches and the
parents,” she said. “I could never do this alone.”
The team shoot will be in the morning at Prior Lake on Saturday. The
individual portion of the state meet will be held in the afternoon.
Representing the Magic during that portion of the meet will be
Beckman, Hedtke, Swanson and Hoffman.

Contact Clay Sawatzke at [email protected]