This year the Kansas State High School Clay Target League is entering its inaugural year, and Sterling High School, along with six other teams already in the league — including Andover, Wellington, Wichita Collegiate, Nickerson and Cedar Vale — will become part of the league.
Over 50 other schools, including Lyons and Chase, have also expressed interest in joining.
Discussion surrounding entering the league, although put into action by teachers, was student driven.
“It’s not a teacher’s vision. This is a student driven activity. Students approached us about starting a league, and we saw this as an opportunity to reach some students who maybe weren’t involved in extracurricular activities such as traditional sports, drama, music, et cetera,” physical education teacher Jill Rowland said. “We were looking for an opportunity to reach kids, and now we’re going to do that through the clay target league.”
While anyone is welcome to join the team, the KSHSCTL requires all of its participants to earn a state-issued firearms safety or hunter education certificate before they can compete.
“You can take the class through Rowland’s lifetime activities class in the spring, or I will teach one for the community in the spring,” Dennis Vincent said. “So there are going to be two classes, one through the school and one in the community, if they are wanting to participate they will have an opportunity to pass hunter education.”
Vincent is a substitute teacher in the district, a certfied hunter’s safety instructor and one of many people essential in bringing the Clay Target Club to life.
As far as coaching goes, the league does not have any special requirements, and the SHS administration seems poised to appoint Vincent to the trap shooting club’s head coaching position.
“Mr. Vincent is probably going to be the leader of this. He is the one that does all of the gun safety stuff, and he’s connected to all of the people that are going to be involved in helping our kids through those different tournaments,” athletic director and principal Dr. Bill Anderson said.
Many students that are avid hunters and marksmen, as well as those that are not involved in other extracurricular activities, have expressed great interest in the program.
“I want to be in an extracurricular activity, and I love to shoot,” senior Caleb Murphy said. “I’d like to be a part of the team and have fun with it.”
The club was not actually approved until the USD 376 School Board meeting on Dec. 14, when a unanimous decision brought entry into the KSHSCTL a definite action.
“The board was assured that there would be no firearms or ammunition on school property, and they had some questions about the cost. We told them that we are planning to cover the cost with sponsors and fundraisers and things of that nature,” Vincent said. “One board member even said he would like to come shoot with the team.”
The SHS chapter of the league plans to begin practices at the beginning of March, and then begin five weeks of tournaments in April.