The Prophet Shooting team is heading to Bunker Hill, Illinois today to take part in Illinois High School State Target League State Tournament on Saturday at the Brittany Shooting Park in Bunker Hill, IL.
The team is in their 3rd year of competition and for the first time have been joined by students from the Erie School District. The group also moved its home course this year to the Morrison Sportsman’s Club to give team members a more centralized location for competition. The team consists of 21 members, 8-12 grades including 5 female members.
The Prophets competed in a conference with 6 other schools this spring. They do not physically compete head to head with other squads but simply tally their scores after shooting each week, for the five-week season.
Trap shooting continues to be the fastest growing high school sport in the country. The Illinois organization added 12 more teams in the past year and now has 37 teams competing in six conferences around the state. The Prophetstown team finished second in its 6-team conference behind Edwardsville and had 2 of the top 10 male shooters and 4 of the top 10 female shooters in the conference. Teams are scored on their top 14 shooters for a team score and each individual’s score is also tracked. The conference had well over 100 shooters competing each week.
Regular season competition gives each shooter 25 targets to hit, launched from a trap house and scored by a judge. The athletes rotate to five different positions during their round of shooting.
The Prophets are led this year by Jacob Johnson(sr.), Kyle Skromme (fr), and Brody Naftzger (soph) all with averages between 21 and 22 out of 25. Three members of the team have attained recognition for successfully hitting all 25 targets in a round; Sean Sandrock, Jacob Johnson and Brody Naftzger.
Head Coach J. C. Henrekin said the team is extremely young this year with only two seniors competing. He is very proud of the progress the female shooters have made this season with four of the five ranking in the top 10 in the conference. “It has been amazing to see the improvement in our kids especially for their first season,” he said. The team is supported by a group of sponsors that Henrekin says take care of all the costs associated with the sport. Henrekin is assisted by coaches Bill Jones, Gabe Olinger, Barney Olinger, Tom Wold and Daryl Drennen. Henrekin’s wife, Lamonica, is big part of the team, assisting with scoring and team activities.
Gunnar Wuebben, a sophomore from Erie, was extremely excited for the opportunity to join the team this year. “I was the main person reaching out and emailing administrators trying to get us on the team.” The sport is not an EP Co-op activity, which made the addition of members outside of the PLT#3 District a bit more complicated. He says he is really enjoying his first year, “It exceeded my expectations, it’s a lot better than I thought it would be.” When asked about the best part of sport he said, “Being able to do something you love with friends.”
The sport has also become attractive to several female athletes. Freshman, Mysti Moody, from Erie is in her first year with the team but has been a hunter for several years. “I was so excited when I heard over the school’s intercom, we were able to sign up. I immediately went to the office and I was one of the very first people.” She said it was a rough beginning as she had never shot trap before, “I’ve gradually gotten better and had done much better than I imagined I would.” She said she really loves the experience and enjoys the support of her teammates and coaches,” I am having fun while learning.” She attributes her improvement to her coaches and just becoming more comfortable with the sport.
Team members include: Seth Copel, David Egan, Brody Grimes, Hunter Harms, Jacob Johnson, Maxwell Jones, Kyle Kruthoff, Emily McElhiney, Mysti Moody, Brody Naftzger, Gavin Olinger, Dean Otten, Ryan Roman, Sean Sandrock, Haley Shafer, Kyle Skromme, Sabrina Soleta, Max Vahle, Luke Wetzell, Gunnar Wuebben, Morgan Coleman.
The National Competition will be held during the first part of July in Michigan with qualifiers to be determined at the state level.