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See Bird. Dust Bird.

clay target, owatonna high school
By
Roy Koenig, Sports Analyst

The Owatonna clay target team’s attention to detail and strong family tradition led the squad to its first conference championship. Many current members had siblings compete previously. Each finds their own way to concentrate.

Senior captain Will Wottreng clears his head and tries to not overthink his shot.

“This year I focused more on my footwork. That’s a big thing that the coaches told us,” said Wottreng.

With nearly 100 student-athletes from 7-12th grade, Wottreng works on bridging the gap.

“Every time I come out here, I try to interact with as many kids as I can. Talk to them. Ask them how they’re doing,” he said. This is his sixth year with the program.

Tori Koziolek, who joined years ago to be on the team with her brother, calls it relaxing.

 “When you’re up there, you’re chill. You’ve got to think of one thing to get your mind off of the clays. I usually sing a song. Mostly the varsity choir pops song from this year, and I do the dance in my head,” she said.

Morgan Hansen said her family influenced her.

“My dad and my brother told me to do it because we hunt all the time. It just clicks,” said Hansen. She says it’s important to forget about any missed shots.

Coach Mike Kingland said the team is dedicated.

“Once kids get involved, they seem to like it. Once they see friends doing better, that gets them to jump in and practice more,” said Kingland. He says the team’s retention rate is about 98%.

“My grandpa would come out here on weekends and shoot and I would come with him. He and my dad talked me into joining the team and I had a few older buddies in it. They got me to join,” said Ethan Schubert.

He’s had to change his approach over the years.

“I’ve gone through a couple of surgeries through wrestling. Coach Mike’s been out here and helped a lot with different techniques,” said Schubert.

This is the final week of the season. The Huskies shot in Alexandria on Tuesday; an event that is essentially the section meet. It was a chance for the team to bond. “We all have to be there together all day long. Sometimes that’s maybe the first time they’ve met a teammate,” said Kingland.

The Minnesota State High School League tournament is on June 21 in Prior Lake.

Awards

Mack Mogen had the top overall average for the Huskies. Team awards included Most Improved (Ben Highfield/Lilian Martin) and Rookie High Average (Claire Dixon/Casper Pietikainen). The team had 60 earned letters this season.

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