Gator Clay Busters qualify for MSHSL State Tournament as a team

photo by Val Truscinski
Breydon Bertilrud shoots his shotgun at a clay target at the state Trap Shooting Championship in Alexandria on June 15. Bertilrud shot a 95 out of 100 to help the Gator Clay Busters qualify as a team for the MSHSL State Tournament on June 22.

photo by Tammy Novacek
Some members of the Gator Clay Busters team pose together following action at the Minnesota Trap Shooting Championship in Alexandria on June 15; the event ran June 11-19. The Gators would not only finish second in Class 5A, but also have the fifth best team score in the state to qualify as a one of 40 teams for the MSHSL State Tournament– June 22 at the Minneapolis Gun Club in Prior Lake. Team members pictured (L-R) are: Theron Kuznia, Brooklyn Melcher, Tessany Bertilrud, Ganon Kuznia, Kyle Stauffenecker, Jake Taggart, Owen Novacek, Zach Evans, Breydon Bertilrud, Thor Anderson, and Tristan Locken.

photo by Val Truscinski
Gator Clay Buster Theron Kuznia shoots her shotgun during the state Trap Shooting Championship in Alexandria on June 15. Kuznia shot 70 out of 100 at the event, which ran June 11-19. The Gator Clay Busters qualified for the Minnesota State High School League Clay Target State Tournament on June 22 by virtue of finishing within the top 40 of all teams in the state at Alexandria.

The Gator Clay Busters extended their season as a team by a few more days following their performance on June 15 at the Minnesota Trap Shooting Championship in Alexandria, featuring 8,163 student athletes and 308 high school teams from across the state. The event ran June 11-19.
The Gator Clay Busters extended their season as a team by a few more days following their performance on June 15 at the Minnesota Trap Shooting Championship in Alexandria, featuring 8,163 student athletes and 308 high school teams from across the state. The event ran June 11-19.
Gator Clay Buster team members Owen Novacek, Zach Evans, Ganon Kuznia, and Breydon Bertilrud had earned spots to the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) Clay Target State Tournament prior to the state event in Alexandria thanks to their regular season performances. Now, thanks to a team score of 487 out of 500 in Alexandria, the Gator Clay Busters qualified for the MSHSL Clay Target State Tournament as a team– June 22 at the Minneapolis Gun Club in Prior Lake.
Following competition, the team finished with the fifth best score in the state. The top 40 team scores earn team bids to the MSHSL State Tournament.
“Kids all shot good, all above their average,” Coach Novacek said. “… I can’t complain.”
The team’s top five scoring shooters contributed to the team’s overall score of 487, including Thor Anderson with a 99 (out of 100), Owen Novacek with a 98, Ganon Kuznia with a 98, Zach Evans with a 97, and Breydon Bertilrud with a 95. With this score, the team finished second in all of Class 5A. The Gator Clay Busters had the same score as the top team in Class 5A, but lost on a tie breaker, one where the first-place team’s top shooter shot a 100 and the Gators’ top shooter, Anderson, shot a 99.
The four individual qualifiers, including Novacek, Evans, Kuznia, and Bertilrud, plus Anderson will compete as a team at the state tournament on June 22. Caleb Vacura and Kyle Stauffenecker will attend as alternates. Opening ceremonies began at 8:30 am and team competition began at 9 am. The individual awards ceremony is scheduled for approximately 3:30 pm. This is the MSHSL’s final state tournament event of the 2017-18 school year.
To see the complete story on the Gator Clay Busters’ performances at the championship event in Alexandria, read the June 20 issue of The Tribune. To find out how the Gator Clay Busters perform at the MSHSL Clay Target State Tournament, read an upcoming issue of The Tribune in print or online.

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