A new sport will be offered at Ridgewater College this fall. The school announced Tuesday that it is adding clay target teams to its Hutchinson and Willmar campuses. The teams are open to men and women.
“Clay target shooting is a strong and growing sport at the high school and college level in our region,” Ridgewater College president Craig Johnson said in a press release. “We are already getting questions from prospective students indicating their interest in enrolling at Ridgewater if we add a clay target team, so this initiative should help our enrollment and respond to student interests in our communities.”
The school would have teams on both campuses that would be allowed to shoot at local ranges. Arrangements with a Hutchinson-area range are currently in the works, according to Todd Thorstad, Ridgewater’s athletic director.
Ridgewater will join the Minnesota College Athletic Conference, which began offering the sport last year. The successful first season helped push Ridgewater to offer the sport to its students, Thorstad said.
“We were interested at the time but we weren’t able to get on board with that initial year,” Thorstad said. “Those other schools had real good seasons and we wanted to jump on board with that and offer that opportunity to our students.”
Thorstad said that though the two campuses could compete as two separate teams, it’s likely that they’ll combine to form one team when submitting results. Ridgewater is still on the hunt for its coaches, ideally one at each location.
The season begins in early September, and the team will hold regular practices and compete through mid-October. The season culminates with the MCAC Clay Target Championships in Grand Rapids.
“It gives the students an opportunity to do something outside of the classroom,” Thorstad said. “That’s always a good thing. It definitely enhances our student-life experience for our students and raises the potential of a recruiting type of a tool to drive up enrollment.”