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The Laker duo of Friesen and Nodsle made the most at the first-ever state clay target meet

The Laker trapshooting duo of Jona Friesen and Calvin Nodsle had a good showing in the Minnesota State High School League Clay Target Tournament by taking second and sixth in the state, respectively. DL NEWSPAPERS/Brian Wierima

For the first-ever Minnesota State High School League state trapshooting meet, Detroit Lakes junior Jona Friesen had some high expectations.

“My goal was to go in and win the first-ever high school championship,” Friesen said. “I barreled myself down (after Alexandria’s Clay Target Championships) and I was dead set on my individual championship.”

Even though Friesen’s mark on gold was a bit off, instead settling for silver and a runner-up position, his top finish and senior teammate Calvin Nodsle’s sixth-place state slot put the Laker trapshooting team on the map.

With the MSHSL making trapshooting a sanctioned high school sport, the DL duo of Nodsle and Friesen are not newbies to the shotgun sport.

Both have been shooting clay targets for the last seven to eight years and both have honed themselves as pretty good shots.

Friesen finished with a 98 score at the State Clay Target State Tournament in Prior Lake last week, which was one off of state champion Gust Lundeen of Dassel-Cokato 99.

“I got into my last box of shells knowing I shouldn’t have missed those two targets in my first box,” Friesen said. “I went up to the line, knowing I was going to get a place at least, though.”

Even though Friesen tied with three other shooters for second, he won the tiebreaker by recording the longest string from 100 to 0.

Nodsle also blew past his expectations by shooting a 97 for sixth.

“In the team portion, I was quite flustered with the rain because my glasses were full of water (and finished with an 84),” Nodsle said. “In individuals, I didn’t have high expectations, so I was happy with the 97.”

The Lakers as a team had to shoot in some unfavorable weather conditions and finished 16th out of 24 teams, but DL coach Perry Nodsle felt if the weather was better, they could have placed much higher since three of the five shooters never shot in the rain before.

With clay target shooting now an official sport, it’s already garnering popularity.

There were 6,100 student/athletes out for the spring sport, with 385 schools involved and 185 of them having teams.

“Anyone can go out, as long as you have your firearms license,” Friesen said.

“It’s easy to come out, since many of the kids just grabbed the shotgun out of the closet,” Perry Nodsle said.

Friesen and Calvin Nodsle take the sport a bit more serious, hence their ability to finish in the top 100 in the state out of the 6,100 candidates to qualify for state.

Friesen shoots a Krieghoff K-80 Trap Special shotgun, which is a German handcrafted gun, while Nodsle fires a Beretta 6-82X.

The Laker duo has fired off thousands of pounds of lead on a yearly basis, much of it at the Detroit Lakes Sport Club, located on Highway 10 east.

“We shoot April through September, firing about 20,000 shells a year,” Friesen said. “The last few years during the summer, we haven’t had a weekend off from competing in tournaments.”

That’s exactly how both became such expert shots and that’s practice, practice and more practice.

“Practice, that’s how you get to be perfect,” Friesen included.

But also the camaraderie of meeting kids with likened interests is a draw.

“You compete against the same kids ever weekend and really get to know them,” Calvin Nodsle said. “It’s fun.”

For Nodsle, his high school shooting career is over after graduating, but it’s a sport he will never put his gun down.

For his teammate Friesen, he has one more shot at shooting for gold.

“Jona took third two years ago (in the Clay Target Tournament) and now he took second this year, so I asked him where this is leading?” Perry Nodsle asked.

Hopefully to one place – a state championship.

“I am definitely motivated to win it next year,” Friesen answered.

Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN.