The year 2020 has seen many sports seasons postponed or delayed due to COVID-19. This includes most University of Minnesota-Crookston athletics, as the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference announced in August that fall sports will be postponed through December 31.

One UMC team that’s been able to practice and proceed as normal is the trapshooting team. The Golden Eagles are in their second year of competition under second-year head coach Andy Gjerswold.

“I think we’re blessed,” Gjerswold said. “We definitely can’t pass up the opportunity to be doing what we’re doing. There’s a lot of other athletes that are just as dedicated as these guys that are sitting out or even having a hard time practicing, so we’re definitely counting our blessings. We have a sport that helps us follow all of the (COVID-19) guidelines already. We really don’t have to change much in our day-to-day.”

The UMC trap team had its first practice at the Crookston Gun Club on September 9, and will start practicing three times a week on September 22.  Competition will be fairly open-ended as the team will keep track of their scores, and enter them all online at the end of the season, which will be the third week of October. “At the end of the season, they total everything up and publish the scores,” Gjerswold explained.

UMC competes in the USA College Clay Target League with 33 other schools across the country, including Bemidji State, the University of Jamestown, and Lake Region State College in Devils Lake. In their first season of competition, UMC finished second overall in the league in 2019.

Senior and Little Falls native Aria Kapsner is back for her second season, and she says expectations are high for the Golden Eagles’ second year. “Going in, none of us had any idea what to even expect for being the first-ever UMC trapshooting team,” Kapsner said. “It was really rewarding to know that we can actually do this, and that we can become well known on campus for doing well at our sport.”

Senior Colton Schrempp is from Victoria and he is also back for a second season. He says one of his favorite things about the sport is the feeling of both individual and team competition. “It’s a team, but it’s individual,” he said. “Every time you go out there, you’re competing against yourself to try and improve, but at the same time, it is also a team trying to do something bigger with other people.”

On top of that, in a year that’s been filled with new challenges and uncertainty, Kapsner said getting out to the gun range is a relaxing and safe break from the real world. “That’s why it’s so great to come out here,” Kapsner said. “One, we’re outside. Two, we kind of get to forget about COVID for a little bit and just kind of live life as college students, doing their collegiate sport. So, it’s been a huge blessing that we’re still able to come here and shoot.”