CEDAR FALLS — The 2018 Iowa Clay Target Championships this week illustrate the growing popularity of a relatively new youth sport.

“We have 1,732 high school kids entered in this year’s meet,” Department of Natural Resources Shooting Sports Coordinator Chris Van Gorp said. “We have 93 kids from fourth and fifth grade here, 736 middle school kids with 122 teams total.

“We even have a couple new teams here this year and it just keeps growing. It has become a great family activity and kids of all ages participate.”

After Wednesday’s youth shoot, Thursday was a day where competitors of any age could shoot for bragging rights before the high school events start today.

Boasting isn’t Ar-We-Va junior Sarah Crampton’s style, even after her shoot-off victory over high school conference rival McKenna Wohlers of Loess Hills Shooting Sports in the ladies handicap event.

“I have never shot handicap before today, and I was not expecting much from today,” said Crampton, who powdered 94 of 100 targets.

“I had no idea what the scores were as we were shooting, and I tried not to think about it,” said Crampton, who won the shoot-off 22-20.

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“I was shocked when it was announced,” said Crampton. “I actually impressed myself that I could do that. Now I have to stay focused on my team shooting tomorrow. It has been a good start though.”

Nicole Breese of Solon enters this year’s tournament as a league champion in doubles and handicap. Breese has a high point total of 189 in handicap and 196 in doubles.

Thursday wasn’t her best day.

“Everything felt right today but when I got out there it just did not happen,” said Breese. “I lost doubles in a shoot-off, and finished fifth in handicap.”

As for Van Gorp, he’s been impressed with the first two days of action.

“The ISTA has been a great partnership for us as they actually do most of the work,” he said. “These coaches are all volunteers in trap and they do such a remarkable job getting their kids ready for this shoot.

“The DNR is proud to help out with this and they really help keep it moving along with no incident. It has been a great team effort.”

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