Kena Wilmer, Sam McGregor, and Aria Kapsner
In the photo, left to right, are Kena Wilmer, Sam McGregor, and Aria Kapsner

Trapshooting teams are experiencing exponential growth in high schools across the country. This growing interest in the sport influenced a recent decision to add collegiate shooting sports to the roster at the University of Minnesota Crookston (UMN Crookston) in fall 2019. 

In spring 2018, almost 12,000 students from 349 high school teams participated in the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League (MNSHSCTL). The MNSHSCTLTrap Shooting Championship held in Alexandria, Minn., is the world’s largest shooting sport event. 

In trapshooting, clay targets are launched from a single machine known as a trap. The sport offers the opportunity for participation to both the experienced and inexperienced students in any major. An ‘adaptive’ sport, trapshooting also allows students with physical disabilities to take part making it accessible to everyone interested in participating. 

The collegiate trapshooting team will practice at the Crookston Gun Club, located 1.6 miles from the campus on Highway 75. During the first year, UMN Crookston will host a number of inter-squad competitions, as well as web-based competitions against other programs in the region.  As the team grows, the University plans to incorporate travel into the team's schedule.

For natural resources majors at UMN Crookston, Kena Wilmer, Lake of the Woods, Minn.; Aria Kapsner, Little Falls, Minn.; and Sam McGregor, Hastings, Minn., the option to continue trapshooting at the collegiate level is a real bonus. 

“I chose the University of Minnesota Crookston because of the outstanding natural resources program before I knew we would be adding trapshooting,” says Kapsner. “I started as a sophomore in high school, and now I will be able to continue a sport I love as a college student. This addition is great news for students interested in shooting sports.”

Kapsner enjoys the mind game trapshooting provides. “You can’t let a missed clay hurt your focus, you have to keep looking at the next shot and not let a miss affect you, she says. “Hard as that is, it is much like life. You learn from the past and move forward, you can’t let setbacks stop you from making progress.”

Wilmer feels much the same. “I was thirteen when I first picked up a gun during a firearm safety class,” she explains. “I started shooting competitively in the spring of my tenth grade year. It made me a different person and taught me a lot about perseverance and patience.”

McGregor belonged to the largest trapshooting team in the state in Hastings, Minn., with some 130 members. He loves is the competition but also finds relaxation on the shooting range. 

“It is a good way to get outside and clear your mind and concentrate on something else,” he says. “I can enjoy being with friends and get away from everything else. You come away relaxed and reenergized.” 

In high school, McGregor and Kapsner played lacrosse and soccer respectively and say that shooting sports are a similar challenge. “The only thing is when you are on the range, you are part of a team, but you perform individually,” says Kapsner. “It makes the experience very personal.”

Shooting sports are not the only addition on campus. Cross country is also an option for student-athletes in fall 2019. Schedules and rosters for both shooting sports and cross country are under development.

To learn more, contact the Office of Admissions at 800-862-6466 ( or Golden Eagle Sports at 218-281-8414.


About UMN Crookston

One of five campuses that comprise the University of Minnesota System, the University of Minnesota Crookston now delivers 35 bachelor's degree programs and 25 minors on campus as well as 16 degree programs entirely online. These degrees are offered in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology. With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from more than 20 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree. Visit

About UMN

The University of Minnesota System, with campuses in Crookston, Duluth, Morris, Rochester, and the Twin Cities, is driven by a singular vision of excellence. We are proud of our land-grant mission of world-class education, groundbreaking research, and community-engaged outreach, and we are unified in our drive to serve Minnesota.

Story Contact: Shawn Smith - - (218) 281-8414