The new trap shooting team for Tillamook High School and Junior High School took a shot at state championship glory in its inaugural season.
Trap shooting, an Olympic sport, is one of three popular competitive shotgun shooting styles, along with skeet shooting and sporting clays. The Oregon High School Clay Target League allows students from 6th through 12th grades to compete. This season, there were 34 Trap teams and two Skeet teams with 714 student athletes competing weekly.
The athletes don’t typically travel to face other teams. Nearly all of the competitive shooting is done at the Tillamook Gun Club in a virtual tournament format. Scores are tallied from teams of similar sizes all across Oregon on “game day.” The state tournament was held at the Hillsboro Gun Club on June 22-23.
Trap shooters can compete at state if their grades meet the criteria, as with all other sports in the District. Everyone’s scores are recorded into a league database for a team score. Tillamook took four of the five top places in the junior varsity division, including 1st place for Ian Schwend, 2nd place for Brodie Cloud, 4th place for Hayden Hamerl, and 5th place for Chase Trussell with another team member, Worth Johnston, placing 22nd place. In the male novice division, Max Porter placed fourth. Maicee Malcom placed 6th in the novice girls.
Tillamook Gun Club member Tim Remaley is the team’s head coach. He was a Primary Marksmanship Instructor in the Marine Corps. He is also a National Rifle Association certified firearms instructor. After his military service, Remaley started shooting handgun matches, discovering the shotgun shooting sports. He was excited to join the school’s program, which allows students from 7th through 12th grades to learn firearm safety and marksmanship.
Remaley said there were several standout shooters from Tillamook at state, including a 25/25 round by Hayden Hamerl, who tied for fourth in his division. For shooting his first perfect score, Hamill earned a brand-new leather shell pouch with target league logo and “25 Straight” emblazoned on it. And as tradition holds, his hat was shot to pieces to by the team to celebrate his first 25/25.
Hamerl had a bit of nerves in Hillsboro, but with his teammates nearby he was able to settle in, particularly after adjusting for the slower clay pigeons than what he’s used on the home range. Technical reminders from the coaches about sticking to the fundamentals before shooting were also helpful. The most important part of shooting trap is giving your eyes a second to lock onto the target before you fire.
Hamerl said it was pretty cool to represent Tillamook on the road trip. He plans to compete on the team again next year and hopes his little brother will join as well. The trap team is one of the most talked about sports in the community; the first article in the Headlight Herald received record-breaking audience reach.
For their first time shooting in a new place and around other teams, Tillamook made its mark, placing 15th overall out of 34. Preparation was part of the success. Remaley pumped up the training schedule in the weeks before the competition. Some of the team members enjoyed it so much they are looking into more competitive opportunities outside of the school team.
“The kids were well behaved, well mannered, everybody had a good time,” Remaley said. “And the parents were very, very supportive – couldn’t ask for a better day.” He also spoke highly of the Hillsboro Gun Club, who hosted well-staffed, professional quality tournament event for more than 400 competitors and over 1,500 attendees. The US Army Marksmanship Unit also made an appearance.
Tillamook Trap Shooting Team plans to host clinics for the upcoming class of seventh graders who are now eligible to join the local team. Watch the Tillamook Clay Target Team and Tillamook Gun Club Facebook pages for more details. There will be a few adjustments to the team’s schedule and depth of instruction next year. It’s possible the team will have a varsity squad next year, and 50- 60 students are expected to join the team.