WHEN GRADUATION COMES AND YOUR USA HIGH SCHOOL CLAY TARGET LEAGUE CAREER COMES TO A CLOSE, REMEMBER THAT IT’S JUST THE BEGINNING.
Clay target shooting is a sport you can participate in throughout your life. Taking the next step to participate on a college team will help develop your skills and keep you in the fun. Since our launch of the USA College Clay Target League a couple of years ago, it has caught on quickly at schools across the country. The teams compete virtually, just as your high school team has, and follow the same mantra of safety, fun, and marksmanship.
“With college trap shooting the experience and skills gained at the high school level are developed and matured,” explains McPherson College trap shooting coach Tony Helfrich. McPherson recently added trap to its list of student activities in the Spring of 2020. “Students have the opportunity and are encouraged to develop leadership skills, build character, take on new responsibilities, and create relationships that last a lifetime.”
We’ve compiled a list of just a small grouping of schools across the country offering clay target shooting in addition to excellent curriculum and educational programs. Because, when choosing the right school for you, we want to make sure student athletes excel in the classroom and on the shooting range.
“Choose a school that has a major in the field you’d like to pursue,” says Andy Gjerswold, coach at the University of Minnesota Crookston. “As much as we love trap shooting, the purpose of college is to build a more promising future for yourself. College trap builds principles and character that will help you succeed in life. So find a school that encompasses everything you need to get where you want to go.”
BEMIDJI STATE UNIVERSITY
Bemidji State University is located on the shores of Lake Bemidji (6,000 acres) and has another 500 lakes within an hour’s drive of campus. Bemidji is also 15 minutes west of hunting opportunities in the 1,000 square-mile Chippewa National Forest. The North Woods setting is a draw for many on the trap shooting team. Environmental stewardship, community service, and global understanding form the foundation of the school’s philosophy. It offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and pre-professional programs including a few unique ones, such as aquatic biology, industrial model-making, and wilderness and outdoor recreation planning.
UNDERGRADUATE TUITION: $10,000
TEAM COST: $20 for registration, plus gear and supply costs, though agreements with local supplier provide reduced shell costs for participants. The college is exploring additional funding options to reduce costs in 2021.
COLLEGE WEBSITE: bemidjistate.edu
BISMARCK STATE COLLEGE
Bismarck State College is proud to be North Dakota’s first and only polytechnic institution. Students can choose their path. Earn the first two years of any bachelor degree and transfer on. Find a technical program that gets them into a high demand, great paying career in two years or less. Or enroll in a four-year hands-on degree in a specialty field. BSC offers a high-quality education at one of the lowest tuition rates in North Dakota. Students will experience small class sizes taught by faculty who love to teach.
Bismarck State College’s location also allows students quick access to abundant public lands for some of the nation’s best goose, duck, pheasant, and sharptailed grouse hunting, giving them an opportunity to transfer their competition skills to a wide variety of wingshooting opportunities in the region.
UNDERGRADUATE TUITION: $4,800
TEAM COST: The team received a grant from the NRA that covers
practice targets and shells and hosts a fundraiser shoot each year to
pay for travel expenses and entry fees.
COLLEGE WEBSITE: bismarckstate.edu
CENTRAL LAKES COLLEGE
Located in the beautiful Brainerd lakes region of Minnesota, Central Lakes College is a great campus for outdoor enthusiasts. The college is known for its career and technical programs, which have a high placement rate. The school also boasts a range of successful athletic programs and champions an inclusive campus community. The Raiders clay target team reflects that mantra. Donor support from the local VFW and Minnesota Deer Hunter’s Association helps support the team.
UNDERGRADUATE TUITION: $5,384
TEAM COST: $40 registration fee and the cost of apparel. All other expenses are covered.
COLLEGE WEBSITE: clcmn.edu
The college’s main campus is in Arkansas City, Kansas but also operates locations in nearby Winfield, Mulvane, and downtown Wichita. In addition to its online presence the college offers on-site courses at nine area high schools. Cowley College’s Ireland Hall was designed by architect Charles Sumner Sedgwick and constructed in 1890. It is considered one of the oldest standing buildings in the city of Arkansas. The trap club formed in 2019 and is eager to start its third season of competition.
UNDERGRADUATE TUITION: $8,898
TEAM COST: $250
COLLEGE WEBSITE: cowley.edu
UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA CROOKSTON
The University of Minnesota Crookston considers itself a small campus with a big degree. Known for its agricultural and natural resource majors, U of M Crookston was named the top public regional college in the Midwest by U.S. News this past September. The UMC trap team is a part of the UMC Athletics Department, with shooters both recruited and free to tryout, no matter their skill level.
UNDERGRADUATE TUITION: $11,822
TEAM COST: None
COLLEGE WEBSITE: goldeneaglesports.com/sports/mtrap
UNIVERSITY OF JAMESTOWN
Established in 1883, the University of Jamestown is a private, liberal arts university granting bachelor of arts, bachelor of science and science in nursing degrees, as well as master’s degrees in education, leadership, clinical counseling, and a Fargo-based doctor of physical therapy degree. With the Jamestown Journey to Success, emphasis is placed not only on preparing students academically in their chosen areas of study, but also on preparing them through a student-centered experience, which as of 2018 includes shooting sports.
UNDERGRADUATE TUITION: $22,428
COLLEGE WEBSITE: jimmiepride.com
McPherson College is located in the midst of the Great Plains, in McPherson, Kansas. A career-focused curriculum allows students to build on their passion and succeed in their career. There is no cost to be a student athlete on the newly founded shooting sports team (began in 2020). In fact, it is the first college in Kansas to offer varsity level scholarships for shotgun sports. And, the Student Debt Project, a unique way to reduce student debt, makes McPherson College an affordable option.
UNDERGRADUATE TUITION: $31,154
TEAM COST: None.
COLLEGE WEBSITE: macbulldogs.com/sports/shotgun
MITCHELL TECHNICAL INSTITUTE
Mitchell Technical Institute is a two-year technical college offering more than 30 programs in seven divisions: agriculture and transportation, business and service, engineering, energy, health sciences, and online and advanced technical education. The school is an Aspen Top Ten Community College for 2019 and has one of the highest placement/continuing education rates of any school in the nation at
99 percent. Located in the heart of some of the best pheasant hunting in the U.S., many trap team participants are seasoned shooters.
UNDERGRADUATE TUITION: $6,432
TEAM COST: $20 annually, plus the cost of safety gear and shells.
COLLEGE WEBSITE: mitchelltech.edu
MOUNT ALOYSIUS COLLEGE
An affordable private college nestled in Laurel Highlands, Mount Aloysius College was recognized as a “Best Value School” by the University Research and Review for its low tuition and outstanding academic opportunities. The Mounties Clay Sports Club was founded in 2018, providing students of all levels of experience a chance to shoot clay targets. Currently there is no fee to join the club, and the school provides its student athletes with guns, targets, ammunition, and safety equipment. Shooting scholarships are available along with academic and needs based scholarships. Students are coached by a certified instructor and the team shoots in the USA College Clay Target League.
UNDERGRADUATE TUITION: Sticker price is $23,090/year plus room and board, but 98 percent of MAC students receive financial aid with an average package of $12,000.
TEAM COST: None.
COLLEGE WEBSITE: mtaloy.edu
NORTHWEST KANSAS TECHNICAL COLLEGE
Northwest Kansas Technical College is a public technical college that offers 14 different programs ranging from diesel technology to medical assistant, and also offers certificates and associate degrees. In an effort to create stronger ties with area high schools and 4-H shooting programs, Northwest Kansas Tech added a shooting sports club program in July 2019 and the young team looks to improve every year.
UNDERGRADUATE TUITION: $16,600
COLLEGE WEBSITE: ntmavericks.com
NORTH CENTRAL MISSOURI COLLEGE
NCMC’s Shooting Sports Club formed in 2017 to offer students the opportunity to enjoy firearm shooting sports. Initially focusing on clay target shooting, many of the events take place at the Trenton Trap & Skeet Range. As a student-led organization, participants can benefit from leadership opportunities while practicing organizational and interpersonal skills. Weekly practice sessions vary each fall and spring semesters. Members compete in matches against other college level shooting clubs and teams.
UNDERGRADUATE TUITION: $6,510
COLLEGE WEBSITE: ncmissouri.edu
PAUL SMITH’S COLLEGE
Enjoy the beauty of Adirondack Park at the private Paul Smith’s College. Paul Smith’s College offers associate and bachelor’s degrees on a 14,000-acre campus, one of the largest college campuses in the world.
UNDERGRADUATE TUITION: $29, 313
COLLEGE WEBSITE: paulsmiths.edu
SOUTHWEST WISCONSIN TECHNICAL COLLEGE
Located about 70 miles west of Madison, Wisconsin, Southwest Wisconsin Technical College is routinely ranked as a top two-year college in Wisconsin and nationally. Hands-on learning, small class sizes and instructors with real-world experience in their fields are among the school’s notable attributes, and nine out of 10 graduates are employed within six months of graduation. It has more than 70 programs including agriculture, healthcare, manufacturing, business, public safety, and more. Trap shooting was the second official athletic activity to be founded at the school and is highly competitive in its conference.
UNDERGRADUATE TUITION: $5,000
TEAM COST: $125, which includes targets, shells, and travel.
COLLEGE WEBSITE: swtc.edu
Webb Institute is a unique, top-ranked undergraduate institution offering one academic option, a double major in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. It is also the only full-tuition scholarship private undergraduate program of its kind in the country. Webb’s rigorous academic program includes theoretic, practical, and professional components that produce well-rounded graduates that are ready for career or graduate school success. The Webb Institute Trap and Skeet Club, established in 2019, meets on the weekends each fall for matches and practices. While many team members have previous trap and skeet experience, no competitive experience is required to join. The team is supported by donations that are used to offset the costs of range fees and ammunition.
UNDERGRADUATE TUITION: $0 full-tuition scholarship for U.S. citizens and permanent residents, with estimated costs such as room and board totaling $21,910.
COLLEGE WEBSITE: webb.edu
Wilmington College, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, was founded by Quakers in 1870 and retains a close affiliation with the Society of Friends. WC’s most popular academic areas area agriculture, education, sport sciences, and business/accounting/economics. Last spring, the school recognized the Wilmington College Clay Target Club as an official student organization that will now compete in the USA College Clay Target League. There is no team fee, but student athletes pay an ammunition fee per season which is the spring and fall.
UNDERGRADUATE TUITION: $26,400
TEAM COST: $60 (ammunition fee per season)