A shot at something new in St. John

Jennifer Stultz and Kahrie Stegman
St. John News

ST. JOHN — With spring sports in limbo, due to the spread of novel coronavirus, students at St. John-Hudson junior and senior high schools eventually will have something new to look forward to.

On March 2, school officials and local police chief Allen Adams met with parents and students at USD 350 to hear how trap-shooting could be the next best activity for St. John, a school known for producing outstanding basketball and track athletes, among other things.

The district will be joining the Kansas State High School Clay Target League, along with other schools from across the state. USD 350 principal Blaine White said 24 students had already signed up to compete for St. John.

"A unique characteristic of this sport is the students will never travel to compete until the state competition," White said. "There will be no traveling to other schools, instead, students will shoot at their home range and will report their scores to the league, and be able to see how they competed against others in the state the Sunday after competing."

The league requires that every team has one coach per every 10 students, so there will be three coaches initially. Students in grades 6-12 are eligible to compete, and student-athletes can be involved in trapshooting and another spring sport.

White said that scoring will be based on schools and individuals, so students will be able to see their own personal progress as well as compete as a team. St. John will compete against others based on team size instead of school size, in contrast to other sports offered.

"We may actually be competing against Olathe or Wichita-Collegiate or Rolla,“ White said. ”It just depends on how many students they have out for the sport, not on school size, like other sports."

While the Kansas State High School Clay Target League charges every student $250-$300 to compete, USD 350 wants students to be able to join without any fees. Sponsors have stepped up to sponsor many of the students.

“The more activities we can get kids involved in, the more likely they are to be successful," White said. "I want every student to be able to compete whether or not they can afford to buy shells.”

Adams covered the safety logistics of the sport. To join the team, each athlete must complete a three hours of online training.

“One thing that they’re awfully proud of is that there has never been an accident at any school who’s doing this,” Adams said. “They’re very strict on the rules.”