Just 5 Years After Its Founding, The Saline High School Trapshooting Team Wins a State Championship


The Hornet trapshooters are state champions!

The Saline High School team, founded just five years ago, has captured its first state title.

There are 46 members of the team - including 17 middle schoolers. The team was led by seniors Jason Harbach and James Ulery.

There are more than 75 Michigan teams in the USA High School Clay Target League.

With nearly 50 competitors, Saline competed in the Conference 11 - the conference that houses the state’s largest teams.

Saline’s trapshooting team competes out of the Maybee Sportsman’s Club. Teams compete virtually - so they don’t have to travel to other communities..

Coach Susan Duda-Osborne said the season began in January when the students were taught about gun safety and fundamental skills.

“The league and coaching staff are very strict with safety protocol,” Duda-Osborne said.

In February, the kids began shooting and preparing for the season. Competition began in April.

The regular season consists of five virtual matches. Each head coach selects a “competition day.” For the Hornets, these usually take place on Sunday. 

These competition days aren’t head-to-head, but conference-wide. At the end of the week, the scores are entered and compared.

“So, Saline is competing again all teams in Conference 11,” Duda-Osborne said.

Saline has a large team with deep talent.

“Out of our 46 athletes, we have 15-20 excellent shooters,” Duda-Osborne said.

To win the state championship, the top five scores are used.

“Everyone competes, but the five best scores become the ‘Saline Trap Team’ scores at the state championship,” Duda-Osbornse said.

Saline isn’t counting on the same athletes, week after week. Instead, with 15-20 great shooters, they just need a few to step up on any given week.

“Saline won the state championship because we don’t have to count on the same five athletes to win. We need five of the 15-20 excellent shooters to have a good day,” Duda-Osborne said.

The five athletes that won the state championship were not the same five who won during the regular season.

“That’s what makes Saline a powerhouse,” Duda-Osborne said.

The top five Saline shooters this year were Morgan Heusel, 10th grade, Gavin Male, 11th grade, Ian Lichtenstein, 11th grade, Will Rogers, 11th grade, and Nathan Dubnicki, 10th grade.

Morgan Heusel placed second overall shooting a personal best 98/100.

The Hornets went on to compete in the national championship July 7-9 at Mason, Mich. 13 Hornets competed at the nationals. Along with five athletes from the aforementioned state championship group were John Callahan, Carmen Cunningham, Ryan Feldkamp, McKenna Heusel, Trevor Lantis, John Ronayne, Haven Stanton and Jacob White.

Students who want to get involved in trapshooting are required to attend the “Fall Trap Camp,” which teaches the fundamentals of trapshooting over a six-week camp. The camp begins in September.

“We are looking for 6th and 7th graders to attend Fall Trap Camp. Our team is currently heavy with high schoolers and light on middle schoolers,” Duda-Osborne said.

For more information, email salinetrap@gmail.com.

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