There were no clay targets shot out of the air last spring due to the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The season was canceled. But the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League looks to come back strong this spring. The league has announced there are 10,959 student athletes representing 382 high school teams across the state.
The league is a part of the USA Clay Target League, which offers high school and college programs in 34 states.
"After a tremendously difficult 2020 for schools and student athletes, we are pleased to see participation similar to our pre-COVID spring participation numbers,” said President of the USACTL John Nelson. "The high participation this spring is the result of the incredible efforts of coaches and families to overcome ongoing issues with the pandemic and ammunition shortages."
The league’s co-ed and adaptive nature are key attractions to schools nationwide. The league is fully Title IX compliant with both male and female athletes competing on the same team. Additionally, it’s an adaptive sport, which allows students with physical disabilities to take part.
The league is also the safest sport in high school with not one reported injury since its inception in 2001. Each athlete must complete firearm safety certification before participation.
"Athletes of all types are able to participate in clay target shooting," said Nelson. "The league has a no-benchwarmers philosophy, and the scoring system is designed so that everyone’s score matters, not just the top athletes on a team.”
With over 38,000 participating athletes in the 2020-2021 school year, the USA Clay Target League is the largest youth clay target shooting sport program in the nation. It offers trap, skeet, sporting clays, and 5-stand leagues to secondary and postsecondary schools across the country.
A modified schedule in 2021 has been set this spring for Minnesota teams.
The MSHSCTL Championships are set for June 14-22 at its annual site, Alexandria Shooting Park. The Minnesota State High School League state tournament follows the the championships, but the league has not set a date yet.
The national championships are July 7-11 in Mason, Michigan.