High school trap shooting is off to a fast start in California.
Founded in 2017, the Orland High School trap team was the first team registered in the California State High School Clay Target League (CSHSCTL).
Orland is a rural California agricultural town with a population just under 7,300 that sits in the northern Sacramento Valley. Because traveling to other schools is not easy in the area, the League’s online scoring and “virtual” competitions helped make the trap team a hit as soon as it launched in 2017.
“Northern California is a large area ranging from valleys to high mountains,” says Anna Canon, who along with husband Bruce Chapman, serve as co-head coaches of the Orland High School Trojans trap team. “Many locations have to travel at least an hour to get to their local range. If they had to travel for competitions, we wouldn’t have any teams because these small rural schools are competing for student’s time in sports and academics. This virtual league is a perfect opportunity to allow students to shoot and play other sports and keep up their grades.”
Canon is an agriculture teacher at Orland High School, and a Future Farmers of America advisor. So her spring schedule is already hectic. The ability to compete with limited travel allows her to coacha sport she’s passionate about. Her husband and their son Travis (who earned All-State honors in trap in 2017) grew up planning family trips focused on hunting and shooting competitions. Now she and her husband can share that passion with other students and parents that are part of the Orland trap team community.
“So many students and parents are excited to see this opportunity for their students,” Canon says. “They are also excited about the low cost of participation.” When Canon mentions that Orland has a trap team, and that there are other trap teams in California, the response is often, “Why didn’t they have a trap team when I was in high school?”
Snyder shot his first career 25 on his way to becoming the top male finisher in the JV state tournament.
Canon has worked hard to get the trap team off the ground, says Jerrod Lloyd, Orland High School Athletic Director. She’s also been able to “get kids that may not want to compete in athletics or some of the other clubs and allowed them to create a team of their own and have success while learning all about shooting, hunting, and competing in trap,” Lloyd says.
The Trojans trap team had 20 team members in 2018 and is now looking to replace several seniors, including Cirenio Sanchez and Levi Burt, who earned All State honors, and Britnie Martinez, who finished eighth among female competitors. Among those Canon expects to make an impact this spring are seniors Rogelio Martinez (brother of Britnie), Levi Walkup, and Jack Lazzaretto, juniors Danielle Walkup (Levi’s sister) and Caleb Snyder, and sophomores Kaden Sitton and Amon Bosley. Sitton had never used a shotgun before last season, but finished second in his division in the state tournament.
Canon says high school trap offers all students, regardless of athletic ability, an opportunity to participate in an extracurricular activity while also learning to use firearms safely.
“The thing that stands out the most is the pride that the students take in their team,” Canon says. “Just like other sports teams, they are proud to say they belong to a team and often wear their team gear to school.” Canon continued, “It is fun to see the kids come together not having known each other prior to joining the team and then, as the season progresses, they become a force. They hang out together beyond school and practices. They have created a bond that will last them a lifetime.”
That, and the potential for continued growth of the sport in California, has Canon excited.
“My husband and I truly believe in this league and the positive impact that it can make on our student’s lives,” she says.