The Waterford Wolverines Shooting Team, from its most experienced shooters to its beginners, made a national impact recently.
The team competed at the 2018 Scholastic Clay Target Program American Team National Championships, with four teams and two individuals winning national titles in their respective categories.
The Burlington Demons Shooting Team and Union Grove Broncos Shooting Club also had several top-five performances at the meet held July 14-21 at the Cardinal Shooting Center in Marengo, Ohio.
“This is a strong area of the state and the nation,” Waterford coach Mike Ciezki said. “The southeast corner of Wisconsin has some great shooters.”
Leading the way for the Wolverines was the Open squad in the 200 target doubles trap and the High School Senior Division squad in 100 target bunker trap.
The Open squad of Nathan Czajka, Brady Anderson, Eli Watral, Jaden Hoppe and Cole Anderson totaled 827 targets, winning by two targets over Henges Doubles of Missouri and by four over Cass County Clays of Indiana.
What’s impressive about the victory is that the Wolverines’ top two shooters, Watral (177 targets) and Hoppe (172) are both in the Intermediate/Advanced class, as is Cole Anderson (158). Czajka (164) is Senior/Varsity and Brady Anderson (158) is Senior/Junior Varsity.
Intermediate/Advanced shooters are typically in middle school.
“It was a fantastic job by the intermediate (shooters),” Ciezki said. “Those kids have been on fire this year.”
In an even closer race, the all-girls High School Senior Division squad of junior Faith Moerke and seniors Jessica Strasser and Jessica Ciezki, who is Mike’s daughter, won the 100 target bunker trap with 223 targets, just one target better than Team Henges (222), which featured two boys and one girl, and five ahead of third-place Ankeny (Iowa) Centennial Jaguars (218), an all-boys team.
“I tell the kids ‘Don’t ever give up on a round,’” Mike Ciezki said. “Every single target counts.”
The kids to watch for Waterford are on the Rookie squads, which won titles in 200 target singles trap with 875 targets and 200 target handicap trap with 699. Brayden Hoppa (183), Jacob Aron (177), Cole Burns (175), Carson Keim (171) and Matthew Smith (169) shot in singles trap and Hoppa (165), Aron (164), Burns (155), Smith (155) and Miranda Bernau (60) are all first-year shooters and in fifth grade. Beginners shoot with the same setup as all other shooters, making their feat even more impressive.
In individual results, Moerke (80) and Strasser (78) went 1-2 in High School Senior Division ladies 100 target bunker trap. And Angie Wolfert, an eighth-grader in her first year of shooting, won Intermediate/Entry Level ladies 200 target handicap trap with 182. Wolfert was also second in singles trap, third in doubles skeet and fourth in doubles trap.
“Our younger kids are going to be something,” Mike Czezki said. “The success we’re having with the young shooters shows there’s a bright future for the Waterford team.”
In other top-five Waterford results, the Open squad 100 target bunker trap team of Samuel Coates (66), Brady Anderson (56) and Cole Anderson (50) were fourth (172); the High School Senior/Varsity 200 target doubles trap team of Jessica Strasser (183), Coates (180), Wyatt Strasser (177), Sam Holma (176) and Gavin Morawetz (168) was fifth (884); and Jessica Strasser was fifth in High School Senior/Varsity ladies 200 target doubles trap (183) and 200 target handicap trap (177).
For the Burlington Demons Shooting Team, Jordan Hintz cleaned up in the Collegiate Men’s Division, getting a perfect score in 200 target singles trap and scoring 195 in 200 target doubles trap to win both titles.
He was also second in Collegiate High Over All and Top Gun Collegiate (both 583), third in 200 target sporting clays (187) and teamed with sisters Madelyn and Meredith Bernau to finish second in both Collegiate team 200 target doubles trap (499) and 200 target American skeet (561).
Maddy Bernau pulled off a double victory, winning Collegiate Ladies 200 target handicap trap (174) and 100 target bunker trap (80), and she took second in 100 target doubles skeet (90). Meredith Bernau was fourth in handicap trap (150) and doubles skeet (83), and fifth in bunker trap (60).
The sisters also were second in Collegiate team handicap trap (324) and third in Collegiate bunker trap (140).
Union Grove was led by the second-place High School Senior/Varsity Division team of Thomas Pagels (198), Aimee Spiering (196), Joseph Ditscheit (196), Richard Fonk (195) and Justin Miklaszewski (195), which totaled 980 in 200 target singles trap, just 11 targets behind winner North Scott Trap Team of Iowa (991).
Holly Haigh had three top-three finishes in Collegiate Ladies, taking second in 100 target bunker trap (73) and third in both 200 target handicap trap (151) and 100 target doubles skeet (84).
Taking fourth for the Broncos was Spiering in High School Senior/Varsity Ladies 200 target singles trap (196), and finishing fifth were Taylor Diener in Ladies Intermediate High Over All (496) and the 200 target handicap trap High School Senior/Junior Varsity team (597) of Parker Miklaszewski (175), Yvonne Croninger (158), Savana Rasmussen (146) and Maggie Wasielewski (118).