Trap and Skeet team hosts “community days”

By Megan Loock
Elm Staff Writer

The Trap and Skeet team invites students to join them during one of their community days to learn about how to safely handle firearms at Sudlersville Skeet Club.

According to Captain of Trap and Skeet senior Lanning Tyrell, community days are designed to bridge a relationship between the Trap and Skeet team/sport with the rest of the Washington College campus.

Before 2018, the Trap and Skeet team was not recognized as a varsity sport.  The team was a Student Government Association-recognized club that only practiced on Wednesday nights, according to Head Coach of the Trap and Skeet Team Douglas Pfaff ’10.

“As much as I love my sport, it’s almost as interesting as watching paint dry,” Pfaff said. “It’s not until you get involved when it becomes interesting and fun, and that’s the part that we don’t want to lose.”

As a result, community days originated as a club-sponsored event where participants could come and join in at the “open shoots” at the Sudlersville Club.

When Trap and Skeet became an officially recognized sport at WC in 2018, Pfaff wanted to stick to the roots and values that the club established in its very early days when Pfaff started college and joined the club.

As a result, SGA agreed to aid in the transition from a club to a varsity sport, as long as the organization continued providing an event that’s open to the WC community, according to Tyrell.

Tyrell said that he has been hunting since he was a child, however, he did not expect to be as heavily involved in the sport as he is now after he was officially recruited. He is one of two of the original members who were recruited upon the team’s inception — the other being senior Will Sears.

“It just kinda grew into something that I enjoy doing, and here I am now with one semester to go as captain,” Tyrell said.

Pfaff assists and teaches first-time firearm users about gun safety at community day, . Participants learn about the anatomy of the gun — specifically a 12-gauge shotgun — how to prevent accidents, and how to aim in the sport. Members of the team are also there to also  help during practice. All firearms and ammunition are provided by the team.

Community days also act as outreach to potential athletes. Unlike sports such as lacrosse, soccer, or basketball, prospective students who are looking to join a collegiate Trap and Skeet team are not able to stop by and observe a practice or competition because their practice and competition area is located off-campus. Pfaff invites potential recruits to the Sudlersville Skeet Club.

However, what Pfaff loves most about Trap and Skeet is how accessible it is due to its low injury rate and disregard for athletic ability.

Back in 2001, Minnesota developed the U.S. State High School Clay Target League to provide a “non-profit corporation…[that is an] independent provider of clay target shooting sports [it is an] extracurricular co-ed and adaptive activity for high schools and students in grades 6 through 12. The League’s priorities are safety, fun, and marksmanship,” according to their website.

Pfaff said that the program in Minnesota provided students who didn’t possess traditional athleticism a chance to be active and exploded as one of the top high school sports in Minnesota in the last decade.

Though trapshooting is considered an activity more than a sport in Minnesota, team members can letter in trapshooting, and the teams are usually recognized in yearbooks, according to The Pioneer Press’s Bob Shaw.

“It’s something that crosses lots of boundaries,” Pfaff said.

The next community day is Sunday, April 24 from 1 to 3 p.m. Team members will meet participants in front of the Office of Public Safety 30 minutes before the posted times, according to Pfaff’s April 7 email.

The link to RSVP can also be found in that email.

“One of the big things that I want to encourage everybody is that even if you don’t want to come and actually try it, come and take a look. It’s something very different than you’re gonna run into, you have to actively seek it out,” Pfaff said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.