Southwest Minnesota State University will add club shooting sports beginning in the 2020-21 academic year.
The team will compete in the Minnesota College Athletic Conference (MCAC) with 20 other colleges and universities across Minnesota. There will be two seasons – a six-week season in the fall, and a nine-week season in the winter, according to club faculty advisor Mike Lenz, Assistant Professor of Theatre at SMSU.
“The team will compete in several events – trap, skeet, five-stand and sporting clays,” explained Lenz.
Clay target shooting is the fastest-growing sport under the umbrella of the Minnesota State High School League. There are more than 13,000 clay target participants on high school teams in the state.
The SMSU team’s “home course” will be at Shooters Sporting Clays east of Marshall. Individual and team scores will then be recorded on the league Web site at the end of each competition.
Lenz explained that each team will compete at its local shooting facility.
“You shoot locally, and then submit your scores. You don’t have to travel to other locations,” he said. “That saves on travel costs.”
Team members compete as individuals in each event, and team scores are compiled too, said Lenz.
“That way it’s both an individual and team sport,” he said. “It’s kind of unique in that regard.”
Lenz enjoys shooting sports and regularly travels to the Minneapolis area to compete. He said the club shooting team will be very inclusive.
“It’s Title IX compliant, with both male and female student-athletes competing on the same team,” he said. “In addition, it’s an adaptive sport, which allows students with physical disabilities to take part.”
Between 15 and 20 students participate on a team.
“If there’s enough interest, we’ll have more teams,” he said.
SMSU President Kumara Jayasuriya believes the addition of a shooting sports team will be popular on campus.
“Clay target shooting has really exploded in popularity at the high school level, so it makes sense to field a team at SMSU,” Jayasuriya said. “It’s a lifelong sport, and can be enjoyed by male and female athletes, and our students with disabilities. It is another extracurricular option for our students.”
Those interested in the shooting sports team can learn more online at www.smsu.edu.
- Image courtesy of the SMSU Web site