By Ema Rickman, Contributor
The echoes of the shotgun blasts ricocheted off the overcast skies at Harry A. Koch Trap and Skeet Range. A slight drizzle wasn’t enough to stop members from the UNO trap and skeet team from showing off their skills last Thursday.
Ben Seiker, UNO senior and team president, said the 10-member team, fresh off a trip from nationals in San Antonio, Texas, is looking to recruit more members.
“A lot of people aren’t aware of the sport’s existence and how much fun it can really be,” Seiker said while the other members nodded in agreement.
To get the team more attention, Seiker said members go to area high schools to recruit promising shooters. Members also recruit on campus at the beginning of the school year.
But they aren’t just recruiting men. Trap and skeet is for everyone. Just ask freshman member, Megan Freeborn.
Freeborn enthusiastically explained how she discovered the sport in eighth grade with several friends.
“I’ve been shooting all through high school and now in college,” Freeborn said.
Shooters on the team purchase their own firearms, ammunition and shooting gear. Even though getting started may seem pricey, Freeborn encouraged everyone to at least give trap and skeet a try.
“We have a lot of supplies that we can loan out,” she said.
For those who like it, Freeborn said trap and skeet shooting is an investment. But it’s up to each person how much he or she wants to invest.
“You can spend thousands of dollars on a gun, but you don’t have to,” Freeborn said.
But according to other team members, there is more to trap and skeet than just knowing how to shoot a gun.
“You take any hunter on the trap and skeet field, and they probably wouldn’t shoot very well at all,” Seiker said, with a chuckle.
In skeet shooting, the shooter moves around a semi-circle field while the targets discharge the same way every time. In trap shooting, the shooter stays stationary while the machine that throws the targets oscillates and throws the targets in different directions.
The targets in both trap and skeet are moving at about 45 to 50 mph, Seiker explained.
“There aren’t many gaming birds that fly that fast,” Seiker said.
Freshman Jason Pike, who will be replacing Seiker as president of the club next year, emphasized that it takes a lot of practice to develop the skills it takes to shoot.
“You can’t just show up and be an all-star, you have to work at it,” Pike said.
Seiker also pointed out that the sport is very much a mental game, which is something people don’t realize. He noted that the mental aspect can affect one’s shooting.
“Right after shooting 100 straight, you can walk out there the next day and miss 10 of them and it’s just because of what’s going on up here,” Seiker said, tapping his temple.
Though it takes both physical and mental skills to excel at shooting, all three members agreed it takes encouragement and teamwork most of all.
Unlike other team sports, where players can be subbed in and out during the game, once a squad has been established for a meet, there is no changing it.
“So if someone is having a bad day, you can’t bench them,” Seiker said. “Their score counts.”
Seiker explained that this pushes the team together even more, as they must be supportive and help each other to improve the team.
“It brings a sense of camaraderie that a lot of sports don’t see,” Seiker said.
The team practices weekly from September through April and travels to several meets throughout that time before nationals at the end of March.
For more information, contact Seiker at firstname.lastname@example.org