By Isabella Baugh
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No wait, it’s a flying clay target? For some this may seem strange, but for those who participate in PC’s clay target team, this is the sight to see. The team consists of 57 students ranging from grades six through twelve and is led by 17 certified coaches, including head coach Keith Van Donselaar.
Competitions began against Ottumwa on April 1 and PC placed second of twenty-five teams. The team participated in three disciplines of competition, including “trap, skeet, and sporting clays.” Each discipline incorporates different flight paths and speeds of the flying targets.
Team practices started on March 7 and, according to coach Danielle Pinegar, are going very well. The team has been working hard on completing drills and focusing in on the true mental aspects of the sport. “We are confident this will be our best season yet,” she said..
With talent and determination, the team shows many strengths already, one of which is their number, with 57 athletes willing to dedicate their time to help better themselves in the sport. Another strength for the team comes from the community. “We have been extremely blessed with the support we get from our community. We would not be able to do what we do without everyone who has help us along the way,” said coach Pinegar.
Along with their strengths also come challenges. One of the struggles for the team comes from the lack of readily available practice facilities. According to Pinegar, several schools may need to practice at the same facility and arranging that can sometimes be difficult.
The Eagles number one priority when preparing athletes for the season is safety training. The coaches have strict safety rules that the athletes must follow at all times. They also show priority in their practice drills and focus on the specifics of helping each individual shooter improve. “We also focused on the mental aspect of shooting one target at a time and forgetting if the previous target was a hit or a miss.”
Coaches and athletes are excited to continue working through this season and for many more seasons to come. Junior Colten Uitermarkt has made many memories through his four years of participating in the sport. “I would recommend it for others who enjoy the outdoors, shooting, or even just being social with other fellow shooters. The shooting community is very friendly, so you meet many nice older, more experienced shooters who all would love to lend a hand,” he said.