Merrill trap team takes aim at new conference
The Merrill High School trap team will be shooting for the top of their new conference this year. Competition got underway last week, as Merrill defeated conference rival Mosinee at all three levels: Varsity, junior varsity and intermediate/advanced.
“We will be shooting in a new Conference again this year,” said Head Coach Dave Lepak. “This year we will be in the Great Northern Conference, shooting against the same schools that are in the WIAA Great Northern Conference. Although we are NOT affiliated with the WIAA, we are mimicking the same schools. We have opened our team to 7th and 8th grade athletes this year and our team has grown from 18 shooters last year to 31 shooters this year. We have about a 4 to 1 ratio for male and female athletes.”
Lepak returns as head coach for his fifth year with the team. He is joined by assistant coaches Kevin Holz, 5 years; Angie Lepak, 3 years; John Esser, 1st year; Matt Wallace, 1st year; and Jason Malone, 1st year.
Last year the Bluejay trap team finished tied for third in their conference with Tomahawk. Returning All-Conference shooters include Wyatt Koehler, Jesse Pierscalla, Josh Palazzo, Lea Beckman, Kayli Petrowski, Nichols Holz, Zach Iribarren, Brandon Stolz, Brayton Brown and Cameron Stadler.
Also, Nicholas Holz and Zach Iribarren tied for second in the conference and Brandon Stolz was third last year on the JV squad. They will all be on varsity this year.
Merrill lost some big scorers to graduation last year, including Brody Zocher, who was third last year, and Cody Vonderheid, who was sixth overall.
“We were tied for first place most of 2017 season and hope to build on that this year,” Lepak said. “We have some very good shooters this year and we should do well again this year.
“We are looking forward to another fun and exciting season in a new conference,” Lepak added. “This sport is growing very quickly nationwide and there has been several shooters from Wisconsin trying out for and making the Olympic team. We shoot at the Lincoln Gun Club on Tuesday afternoons from 4-7 p.m. and we would encourage anyone interested to stop out and see how fun it can be. Trap shooting is a sport the whole family will enjoy and can be done your whole life long.”
The Bluejay trap team will compete weekly through May 28. All competition is virtual, with each team shooting on their home range and reporting the week’s scores to the sactioning body, the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation.