NICK THOMPSON, TRUMPET SPORTS WRITER
The clay target sports (CTS) program’s first meet this month culminated more than a year of work Chad Wood, the program’s head coach, put into building the program.
Wartburg’s newest athletic organization was announced over the summer of 2019. On Sept. 21, it competed at the Iowa Invitational, as well as competing this Saturday at the Grand View Tournament.
“I was coaching a high school and middle school program at the time I found out about Wartburg possibly making a clay target sports team for their school, and I figured I would love to put my name in the hat to coach it,” Wood said. “I pretty much had the whole program figured out, how to get it started at Wartburg. I then put the steps in order and made a final plan. First, get the job, then build a team, find a home practice field, and just keep moving forward.”
Wood hosted a booth at the sports involvement fair in 2019 and has been in contact with students about joining the team. Wood said students have been excited about starting up the sport that they have not had the opportunity to participate in since high school.
Even though the sport itself relies on individual competitors, a strong team aspect has a heavy role to play. While some joining the team may be experienced, others are taking their first shot, such as Andrew Rush.
“With my family, we just go out there and strictly shoot and have a relaxed day. But on the team here we shoot at four different types of stations; Trap, Skeet, Sporting Clays, and 5-Stand. . . It’s really fun to see someone, the shooters on the team who have shot in high school or in leagues, shoot at the different stations,” Rush, third-year CTS member, said. “This is a sport that those shooters take very seriously and strive to be the best they can. We all have become a family in a sort that seems to jell every day we go out there.”
In addition to being the newest sport, CTS is also the only co-ed sport that does not separate teams by gender. The sport’s official roster includes 12 members, eight are men and four are women.
“I was excited to get back to a hobby that I like to do. Last spring, my high school trap season, I missed being out on the range breaking clays,” Danae Taylor, third-year CTS member, said.
Rush said he appreciates what Wood has done so far.
“Come last year, I got to know coach a little bit by stopping by in his office every now and then. Now that we are in full force, Coach is really passionate about what he does,” Rush said. “He cares about every single one of us and knows exactly how to make us better every day. I’m really glad we got a coach like him because he makes me want to stay shooting after I graduate from Wartburg.”
The Clay Target Sports team will host their first meet, the Wartburg Tournament, on Oct. 10. For full details on the meet, go to go-knights.net.