CEDAR FALLS — If you measure a sports team on it’s growth, the Cedar Falls Tigers trap team has left infancy and is beginning to spread it’s wings into a full fledged squad.
The Tigers numbers have slowly grown over the past five years and although they did not break the top 10 of the 2018 Iowa Clay Target Championships this past weekend, something big appears to be on the horizon.
Saturday was final day for the high school championships, at the State Association Grounds in Cedar Falls, with multiple shoot-offs needed on the last day to decide a state champion.
The Tigers were not in that mix, but feel their time to break in among the elite teams is not too far away.
“About five years a go we had around 20 kids, I think, in this program, and we were struggling with organization and getting this thing going,” volunteer coach Nick Newgard said. “We have grown into plus 40 and we have a lot of new kids coming in. We have parents volunteering to help and that is so appreciated, and we have kids that are coming in that truly want to shoot and be a part of this team.”
Senior Carter Farley, has been a part of the Tigers squad throughout his high school career and has shot on the first squad for 3-1/2 years, and has witnessed the great surge in numbers.
“There was not much growth when I first started shooting, but it really has picked up,” said Farley, who will be shooting traps next year for Hawkeye Community College. “We as a team have definitely improved over the years and we have been telling everyone we know that they need to try out for the sport. Most of the freshman and some of these sophomores have joined just due to word of mouth.”
Farley finished a strong day of singles competition splashing 184 birds after shooting a pair of 92’s. The field of teams was so loaded with talent that by the end of Saturday, there were over 20 perfect scores of 200 recorded.
“There are so many great teams here and we pretty much knew we were not in the running after the first round,” said Farley. “We just went out in the second set of 100 and shot to improve from the first and have fun. I think we did much better in the afternoon despite a strong wind that really help change the flight pattern on a lot of the targets.”
The wind was strong, for all numbers, knocking down some possible high scores, leaving senior Cameron Manifold holding to some more realistic goals.
“For myself I was really hoping to break 180 targets, but I was a little upset that I missed that goal,” said Manifold after dropping 178 birds. “Our team did pretty good as we have all year really. There is not a lot of difference between our top three squads, and that just shows you how competitive and close we are.”
With Manifold heading to Iowa State, and Farley committed to shoot at HCC, the Tigers look to their youth to continue the upswing.
For sophomore Justin Good, a spot on the number one squad may not be too far off after Saturday’s shoot.
Good broke 50 targets in a row and finished with a 97 in the afternoon shoot.
“Both of those scores were my best ever,” said Good. “I had never gotten 50 in a row before and when I was getting close I tried so hard not to think about it. After a loss I just settled back in and felt relieved actually. So I had a good day, and it was pretty cool to come out here with all these other top teams and shoot.”
With the season now over for the Tigers, the future looks to be in ‘Good’ hands.