Story by Anna Feldman ’20 and photo by Macy Salerno ‘19
It’s 8 a.m. and the first shots ring throughout the trap range. High school students from all over the metro line up to compete against one another. The Marian Trap Team competes against schools such as: Millard West, Papillion LaVista, Papillion LaVista South, Roncalli and Skutt.
Since January, the Marian Trap Team has practiced on Sundays at 10 a.m. Meets began on Saturday, March 16 at the Harry Koch Trap and Skeet Range off of 72nd and Harrison. The team consists of 20 girls from four different high schools: Marian, Duchesne, Northwest, Burke and one homeschooled shooter.
Trap shooting starts with five shooters, called a squad, on the 16-yard line shooting 50 targets. The shooter’s score is divided by two to get their handicap yardage. “Trap is a competitive shotgun sport where you shoot clay pigeons from different yardages,” senior Samantha Tracy said.
The girls have had their fair share of weather trials this year. They started the season off with nearly every trap range flooded, causing overcrowded practices and cancellations. “The weather takes away a lot of practices and some meets, and it makes rescheduling harder, but we learn to adapt and deal with it,” Tracy said.
As one of the two Marian seniors, Tracy gathered ideas on how to help lead this year’s team. “I have had great upperclassmen role models,” Tracy said. “They taught me to always lift others up, even on my bad days.” Tracy hopes next year’s seniors will lead the team off with a bang and keep giving strong words of encouragement and compassion. Tracy expressed that she will miss the experience that she has had over the last four years with her girls the most.
Freshman Sydney Schroeder is a first-year shooter with the team. “I was a little intimidated by the varsity shooters at first, but I quickly became friends with them, and I have had an amazing season with everyone,” Schroeder said. As a new shooter, she has to grow comfortable with and focus on the safety precautions involved in trap shooting. Some of these precautions include: glasses, ear protection and the muzzle of the gun always pointed away from others. Girls also must complete an eight-hour safety course before they are allowed to shoot.
Some long-standing traditions of the team praying before every meet and fist bumping as they change posts. Traditionally, the squad leader starts with words of encouragement followed by a prayer and closed with a group hug. “Basically, we are all respectful of one another, and we cheer each other on throughout everything.” Tracy said. Even during the girls’ handicap rounds, they continue the tradition of fist bumping the other schools and competitors.
During the season, girls are split up into four different squads: Blue, White, Red and Yellow Squads. There have been several perfect rounds across the board between the squads and several girls getting their first 25 straights.
Head coach and Marian alum, Hannah Knight, along with several assistant coaches, encourage the girls to do their best in this competitive sport while still being safe and having fun. Girls do not need to own a gun or any safety gear to shoot, the team will provide those essentials if necessary.
The trap team competed in their final meet of the season, Cornhusker State, on May 3 and 4 in Doniphan, Nebraska. Junior Anna Feldman was second in the individual handicaps. Members of the Marian blue squad, which included Tracy, Feldman, Liz Brisbin ’20, Malerie Birkel ’22 and Lexi Rowe ’22, placed third in the 16-yard shooting and second in the team handicaps. They also finished as the 2019 state champion!
There is a sense of community within the trap team where all the girls come together to support one another. Whether the girl is from Marian, Duchesne, Burke or Northwest, they come together as one team.