THE DURAND TRAP TEAM hosted the 1st Annual Durand Area Trap Team Fun Shoot on Saturday, May 4 at the Durand Sportsmen’s Association on Prior Road. The team welcomed local law enforcement officers, team sponsors and community members to join in the fun. Team members showed off their shooting abilities in front of a large group of spectators and tested their skills against experienced lawmen from the Durand Police Department and the Shiawassee County Sheriff’s Office, among others.
by Graham Sturgeon, co-editor
This March, Durand High School (DHS) added a new varsity sport, competitive trapshooting, at the urging of Derrick Alward, who graduated from DHS and is a regular Durand youth coach. After learning about the Michigan State High School Clay Target League (MSHSCTL) earlier this year, an enthusiastic Alward brought the idea to Durand Superintendent Craig McCrumb, who took the idea to the district’s school board for approval.
Shortly thereafter, Alward and 27 middle and high school students formed the Durand High School trap team, becoming one of the newest teams in one of the state’s fastest growing sports. The team joined 65 other teams in the MSHSCTL, which has grown to include more than 1,500 shooters across the state. The Durand team is comprised of five high school varsity shooters, 20 middle school shooters and two “fun shooters.”
The sport is a natural fit in Shiawassee County and in many parts of the state, where shooting and hunting are widely practiced, as sport and for leisure. The growing popularity of the sport statewide can also be attributed to its inclusivity.
As Alward explains, “Not everyone can be a star athlete when it comes to sports like football or basketball, but almost anyone can shoot trap. This sport is great because, unlike more traditional high school sports, you don’t have to be super athletically talented to excel. Plenty of our team members participate in other extracurricular activities, but this gives those who don’t an opportunity to be a part of a team and compete against other kids their age. Girls and boys can join, and shooting is even an option for students with physical impairments that might limit them in other sports. And they can earn a varsity letter, as well.”
Teams compete “virtually” once per week on their home range against teams in their conference. Instead of coordinating and funding transportation every week to such faraway destinations as Chippewa Hills, Constantine, Harbor Beach, Hillsdale, Lake Shore and Quincy, the team shoots their 50 targets and Coach Alward enters the scores in the MSHSCTL database.
Alward is a Durand parent and has coached a number of Durand youth sports over the years, and he is quite enthusiastic about coaching the trap team. Alward is thoroughly enjoying the experience, which comes across quite plainly when the lifelong Railroader describes the team’s inaugural season.
“It is great seeing these kids compete,” shared Alward. “We have a young team; 20 of our kids are 8th-grade or younger, but they are learning a lot, improving every week. Not only are they learning a skill they will use for the rest of their lives, but for the students who haven’t yet found their sport or after school activity, finding a sport they are interested in is a pretty big deal.
“It has also been cool to see how many of our kids’ parents and grandparents have taken an interest,” continued Alward. “It gives them something they can do together. As a coach, I believe that mentoring is a huge part of every successful program. It builds long-term relationships and is something families can enjoy together.
“And the support we have received has been amazing. Having the blessing of the superintendent and the school board means a lot, and the amount of support we have received from the community has really been impressive. When some people think about guns, all they see are the negative aspects. I am happy that people recognize the importance of gun safety and education, and it feels great to have everyone is behind us, supporting us.”
The Durand trap team practices and competes at the Durand Sportsmen’s Association on Thursday evenings. The team will wrap up its regular season on Thursday, May 23, and the state shoot will be in Mason on Saturday, June 15.