Owatonna's clay target team had a great day at the league championship event Tuesday in Alexandria to qualify for the Minnesota State High School League state tournament Friday, June 25 in Prior Lake. OHS also made it to state in 2018. This time Owatonna also has an individual shooter as well. Joe Earl qualified based on his regular season average. The team shoots at 9 am Friday. Individual competition starts at 1 pm.

Huskies coach Mike Kingland said, "We had a good day overall as a team, a very good day. We qualified for the top 40 in the state, which gets us to the high school league clay target state tournament...We finished fourth among the Class 9A teams which was good and qualified in the 11th spot among the top 40."

OHS shot 478 out of a possible 500 clay targets for their top five shooters. Josh Kiefer tied for the top spot on Tuesday with 99-out-of-100. He ended up second on the tiebreaker. Ezra Buck (97), Joey Brein (95), Taylor Busho (94) and Darren Leckner (93) rounded out the team score. Earl and James Henriksen each shot 90. Those seven will make up the team on Friday, five as shooters with two alternates.

Busho's 94 placed her fifth among all female varsity shooters. Leckner's 93 was third best among junior varsity boys and earned his varsity letter Tuesday. Kingland said, "We had athletes medal in each division." Tea Boerner (87) was first in the female novice division. Anna Youngquist (89) was first for girls junior varsity. Mason Ihrke (82) finished third in novice male.

In the team standings, Owatonna varsity (478) tied with Hastings for fourth. Prior Lake (485), Bemidji (481) and Foley (479) held the top three spots. The Huskies JV and novice teams each placed second. "We had some awesome scores all the way around," Kingland added.

Trap shooting classes are established based on number of team members not school enrollment. OHS has 91 shooters on the 2021 team. Fifty-eight made the trip to Alexandria this week. Kingland highlights other individual notes on the team's Facebook page which also includes a nice photo gallery.

Earl will be Owatonna's first-ever individual shooter at state. "He did a 90 out of a 100 (Tuesday). For a lot of people, that's pretty good. For Joe, he had an off day with that. He's got the capability. He's run a hundred straight multiple times." Earl and Kiefer were both members of the 2018 state tournament team, "They've got the experience. They've been there before," Kingland believes Earl can medal. And adds a top ten finish for the team is realistic.

The Minneapolis Gun Club is in Prior Lake, at 20006 Judicial Road. Fans can attend. You can also follow the results at the clay target leaderboard.

Friday will also be an emotional day for the Huskies. A celebration of life service is happening at the gun club for former coach Kyle Wolfe who passed away from cancer earlier this year, "One of our goals was to qualify at least one individual and a squad for the state tournament."

"Between him and coach Dave, this senior group, some of them were with us from the very get-go, so they've lived through a lot." Dave Schroeder was the first coach and instrumental in getting the sport added in Owatonna. He died of cancer in 2019.

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