Siuslaw Clay Target team shoots up the standings

Siuslaw senior Morgan Delle is the girls individual champion for 1A Conference 3. She is currently tied for 20th in the state. (Photo courtesy Heather Richmond)

Team finishes fourth in team’s second year

May 31, 2022 — Recently, the Siuslaw clay target team wrapped up its conference schedule. The team, in only its second year of existence, finished fourth in 1A Conference 3.

The Viking clay target team is made up of middle and high schoolers and includes boys and girls.

The top performer for Siuslaw during the spring season was senior Morgan Delle, who was the girls conference champion.

“Morgan is the top female trap shooter in our conference and tied for 20th in the state,” said Siuslaw Coach Sean Grundon. “She shot a perfect round, which is 25/25, and is heading to the state competition in June.”

Top Siuslaw male performer in conference was junior Wade Richmond. He was ranked 15th for males and shot a perfect 25/25 round during competition this season.

Joining Delle and Richmond in qualifying for the state tournament at the end of June are sixth graders Thomas Gentry and Aleria Mendolia, eighth graders Billy Grable and Dylan Wheeler, sophomore Hunter Pimlott and junior Beau Campbell.

Grundon is proud of the strides his charges have made in the past two years, especially since the onset of COVID occurred just as the team and its coaches were beginning to instruct, train and practice.

“We have eight athletes heading to state this year,” said Grundon. “There have been a ton of growth and improvement from the kids from last year who came out again this year. Our new-to-the-team group is talented as well,” Grundon said.

The Siuslaw team is a member of the USA High School Clay Target League, a division of the nonprofit USA Clay Target League. The league is the independent provider of clay target shooting sports as an extracurricular co-ed and adaptive activity for high schools and students in grades 6 through 12. The league's priorities are safety, fun and marksmanship — in that order, according to its mission statement.

The group recently practiced against a different level of competition than usual at the Siuslaw Rod and Gun Club when Coast Guard members from Station Siuslaw River challenged the Vikings in what they called “Kids vs. Coasties”.

Assisting Grundon is Riley Hayes. Troy Delle and Willy Rose are the team’s Range Safety Officers and Andy Grzeskowiak also provides team support.

Last year the community came together to launch the clay target program. The Siuslaw Rod and Gun Club donated a shed for kids to keep their gear in. The team has also received support from the Florence Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Florence Elks Lodge #1858.

The Siuslaw clay target team will compete at the state competition in Hillsboro on June 25.