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HomeUncategorizedThe Silver Bay Clay Busters Gear Up for Tournaments

The Silver Bay Clay Busters Gear Up for Tournaments

On Saturday, May 20, the William Kelley High School Trap Team, known as the “Sil­ver Bay Clay Busters”, will travel to Hibbing to compete in the 7th Annual Hibbing Blue Jackets Clay-Busting Invitational. The Silver Bay Clay Busters will compete with 110 oth­er shooters from area high schools.

The Silver Bay Clay Busters team was formed in 2015 by Head Coach Al Klotz­bach, and is part of the Minnesota State High School League, with the USA High School Clay Target League being the governing en­tity.

Currently there are 15 student athletes rang­ing from 6th to 12th grade. Four new team members joined this year: Gordy Gouter­mont, Berkeley Hoff, Archer Goutermont, and Grady Hoff. 2023 is also the last year for four graduating seniors: Inga Lakey, Laura Sullivan, Sam Peterson, and Chace Hipple.

For two years, the team has placed second in conference, and for the five years before that, the Silver Bay Clay Busters were first in conference. In 2019, Thomas Rowle was nominated to the Minnesota All State Team and competed in the Minnesota State High School League State Tournament against 99 other top male high school trap shooters in the state. In 2020, Connor Sullivan was named to the Minnesota All State Team, and both Rowle and Sullivan finished their senior seasons as Conference Champions.

2019 was a very good year for the Silver Bay Clay Busters, with the team holding the top three male shooters in the Conference (Thomas Rowle, Connor Sullivan, and Nick Rieneccius), and Lilly Lewis became the first ever William Kelley female to be named Con­ference Champion, a title also held by Laura Sullivan in 2021. In 2022, Laura Sullivan and Sam Peterson finished third in their respec­tive female and male categories, and were awarded 3rd Place Conference Medals at the Clay Target Championship in Alexandria.

Two members of the Silver Bay Clay Bust­ers have even traveled to compete at the National Tournament in Mason, Michigan: Connor Sullivan in 2018 and 2019, and Sam Peterson in 2022.

The Silver Bay Clay Busters are coached by their founder, Al Klotzbach. Tom Sulli­van, Steve Clark, and Bill McKinney serve as assistant coaches.

Two practices are held each week, but only one is required so long as team members shoot 50 scoring targets per week. Practic­es began on March 31 and will conclude for the spring on May 21. The season finishes on June 12 with the team shooting at the Clay Target Championship in Alexandria.

7th grader Archer Goutermont says of trap shooting, “It’s fun, but the weather hasn’t been very nice. So we haven’t got to shoot as much as I would like! I’m excited to go to Alexandria.”

8th grader Cooper Goutermont adds, “This is my second year, and I like competing against the other people in the league. Trap shooting is one of my favorite things to do.”

Best wishes to the Silver Bay Clay Busters as they travel to Hibbing! Shoot for the stars and hit your goals!

Haley Searls
Haley Searls
Hello! My name is Haley Searls. I’ve loved writing from an early age, though my nonfiction writing at five years old consisted mainly of weather and gardening reports. I still have some of those early articles: “It’s sunny.” “It’s still sunny.” “It’s raining.” I’m glad to say my writing has improved since then. I wrote a guest post for the Silver Bay Public Library blog, and was the writer/editor of the newsletter for my American Heritage Girls troop. I have been writing for the North Shore Journal since June 2022. Besides writing, I love reading, drawing, photography, music, and spending time with family and friends. Two books that have really influenced my writing are Reforming Journalism by Marvin Olasky and Writer to Writer by Bodie and Brock Thoene. As a journalist, I want to share positive community interactions and inspire people to make lasting connections. Article topics that interest me are ones which show community activities and involvement. Such articles include community events, youth accomplishments, library programming, small businesses, local history, local artists and authors, art programs, and cultural events such as theater and dance. If you have an article idea, email the North Shore Journal with my name in the subject line! I look forward to hearing from you!
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