High school trapshooting growing in the Rogue Valley

MEDFORD, Ore. – A new sport is growing here in the Rogue Valley, and it’s not a traditional one.

Over the past decade, more and more high schoolers in the area have gotten into trapshooting.

The shooters try to hit targets that fly in random directions at 42 mph.

Each squad consists of five shooters who take turns firing from each of the five different stations trying to hit as many flying discs as they can.

“We have shooters that have never held a firearm ever, and they say ‘that looks like fun, I want to do that,'” Cascade Christian Trap Team Head Coach Jen Akins said.

Akins’ focus is growing the sport and being as inclusive as possible.

The sport has grown significantly in the valley, but Akins said that it’s also one of the fastest-growing high school sports in the nation.

“We’ve gone from just a few shooters and having a squad of mostly boys to having 15 shooters this season, four of which are female,” Akins said. “It’s just an equal opportunity sport that has grown by leaps and bounds in the valley.”

Cascade Christian features some of the top marksmen in the state, including Blake Skeeters, who finished first in conference this season.

He’s ready to test his skills in the upcoming state tournament, all while having a good time with the friends he’s made along the way.

“It’s just a great experience to be able to come out here with my friends, have a few laughs, go out and shoot, joke around, and it’s a really good time,” Skeeters said.

“It really feels like a community in itself like it’s really fun,” Cascade Christian shooter Brook Akins said. “This team feels like a family honestly. I’ve been shooting with most of them for the whole time.”

For Head Coach Jen Akins, the sport is more than just a fun hobby.

She said that it teaches valuable life lessons and allows the kids to grow right in front of her.

“Those kids, their confidence just grows, you can tell in their body language and their speech,” Jen Akins said. “And just watching them smile and having a good time with it.”

The Crusaders recently wrapped up their regular season and are now gearing up for the state tournament in Hillsboro at the end of June.

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Ethan McReynolds is a reporter and weekend anchor for NBC5 News. He grew up in Bothell, Washington and graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Broadcasting and minors in Journalism and Sport Management. At Gonzaga, he started his own sports podcast. Ethan loves rooting for his hometown Seattle sports teams, especially the Mariners. He loves playing baseball, basketball, and soccer. He is also an avid Taylor Swift fan.
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