A total of 28 students from the Williston Coyotes Clay Target League will be making their way to the state tournament this year.

Competing in Class 2A, in Conference 2 this past season, Williston is sending six students to the varsity division at state, and 12 shooters will be competing in the junior varsity ranks. Meanwhile in the novice division, a total of 10 Williston competitors will also be participating at state.

The two-day weekend tournament will begin on Saturday, June 15, and take place at the Shooting Park, located in Horace. More than 1,300 competitors from over 50 schools are expected to be in attendance.

Prior to their appearance at state, the Williston Herald asked Coyotes trapshooting coach Penny Slagle for her thoughts on the regular season and her expectations heading into the tournament. Here is what she had to say:

Q: What were some of the biggest accomplishments of your team during the regular season?

Slagle: Our team’s biggest accomplishments for the season was to watch these students shoot twice a week and to see how much they have improved throughout the eight week season. The fundamentals that the coaches worked with them on improved their skills which increased their scores--this in turn made them feel so much more comfortable and confident in shooting.

Q: In what areas did you see the most improvement from the beginning of the year to now?

Slagle: The biggest area of improvement was in their confidence and their competitiveness in wanting to become the best shooter they can become. Throughout the season they got a taste of success by shooting better scores, and they wanted to improve each time. Several of our students are first time shooters, and what a thrill it is for us coaches to see this improvement.

Q: What are your expectations heading into state competition?

Slagle: Leading up to the state tournament, we have had practices where the students shot 100 targets just as they will at state. Twelve of our students just attended The Best in the West Shoot, in Minot. This was a great opportunity for the students to get the feel for state.

Going to state is a privilege for our students and they are really excited. I just want all of the athletes to do their best, soak it all in, and mainly since we are such a young team--watch and learn from the top shooters in the state to better themselves and have fun.

Q: What is your message to the team on how to handle the atmosphere of a statewide tournament?

Slagle: This will be a new experience for most of the 28 students who are attending state. There will be more than 1,300 athletes from 50 schools, along with 1,000 spectators. This will be an experience of a lifetime and my message to them would be to enjoy the moment, try to relax and focus when shooting.

Q: Finish this sentence: In order to reach our full potential at state, we must...

Slagle: FOCUS — This is probably the most important thing that each athlete needs to do to be successful as a shooter. Do not get distracted by others on the line shooting, or otherwise.

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