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The Drill: Mason Byrne aims true in high school trapshooting

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WORTHINGTON -- Whatever the sport, you can pretty much bet that Worthington High School senior Mason Byrne will hit the mark.

At the Minnesota state wrestling tournament last winter, Byrne placed sixth in Class AA at 195 pounds. While competing in St. Paul, he won his 100th career victory in the wrestlebacks. If he had lost that match, he would not have placed, and his career record would have gotten stuck at 99.

These days Byrne has a shotgun in his hands, and he’s one of the top performers on the WHS trapshooting team. He loves shooting clay pigeons in the spring, he says, because it keeps him in hunting shape.

Aaron Sieve, who coaches the local trapshooters at the Worthington Gun Club north of town, says there are 46 competitors on the Worthington team, including eighth-graders. The sport is growing in popularity, and now has expanded into some colleges.

On June 15, Worthington trapshooters will join others around the state to compete in the 2018 season championships in Alexandria. There were 25 local shooters in Alexandria last year, including Mason, who was the team’s top shooter.

Sieve explains that the good shooters -- like Mason -- handle pressure well.

“The mind pressure -- if you can handle the pressure of trap, that’s probably one of the biggest hurdles. It’s 85 percent mental,” said the coach.

The Globe learned more about trapshooting, and more about Byrne’s involvement in the sport, recently via an interview and video shoot. You can see the video online at www.dglobe.com. Here’s a sampling of the interview:

QUESTION: When did you first become interested in trapshooting?

ANSWER: “Ever since I was little, I’ve always been interested in it. I have always been out here shooting trap with my dad or out on the farm always having something to do with guns or clay pigeons.”

Q: How does competitive trapshooting work? How many shots do you take, and how is the scoring done?

A: “Trapshooting, how it works is a pretty common question. Not many people know. So every night you come to trap houses in your town or nearby area, and everybody shoots a practice round and two scoring rounds. And each round consists of 25 pull shots, so it’s 75 shots total. You try and hit as many as you can throughout, and how many you shoot from your scoring rounds of 50, that number gets sent in to a database, and that’s compared with all the other towns around you that have trapshooting throughout the whole state of Minnesota.”

Q: Tell us how well you’ve done in competitive trapshooting last season.

A: “At the end of the year I went up to Alexandria and I shot 94 out of 100. It sounds pretty good, but out of all the people that shoot up there, I tied for, I think, 26th out of about 600 kids up there.”

Doug Wolter

Doug Wolter is the Daily Globe sports editor. He served as sports reporter, then sports editor, news editor and finally managing editor at the Daily Globe for 22 years before leaving for seven years to work as night news editor at the Mankato Free Press in Mankato. Doug now lives in Worthington with his wife, Sandy. They have three children and seven grandchildren. Doug, retired after a lengthy career in fast-pitch softball, enjoys reading, strumming his acoustic guitar and hanging around his grandchildren. He also writes books on fiction. Two of his stories, "The Genuine One" and "The Old Man in Section 129" have been distributed through a national publisher.

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