The 2018 Lassen Grizzly Claybreakers varsity and junior varsity teams join for a group photo. Photo submitted

Claybreakers simulate competition

On Sunday morning, Feb.11, the thermometer was at 13 degrees and then the wind came up. It was at this time that the Lassen Grizzly Claybreakers had their competition practice. This was a 100-target event at the Sierra Sportsman’s Rice Canyon Range.

For the varsity, it was Hunter Smith shining the brightest by shooting a 96. Then, Tyler Johnson, last year’s junior varsity team captain who also led the 2017 junior varsity team to a second place finish for the year, breaking 95 targets.

Just behind Johnson was Gunnar Sherman with a 92. Next was a three-way tie for third place with Cole Taylor, Kendahl Loflin and Jake McCart all breaking 87s, followed by Rylee McCart with an 84 and Wyatt Gould, who finished the varsity.

The high five team score added up to a 457 out of 500. They almost beat their highest competition score of the 2017 season.

Head coach Phil Giusti commented, “We have a very young varsity team this year, and while they have been working very hard so far this year, there are still 28 days remaining until their first competition, so they are going to work even harder.”

With the loss of one of the team’s best shooters, Clay Cagle, last year, and Garrett Mallery out for the season due to an injury, the varsity will have to work extra hard to make up the scores.

For the junior varsity team it was a different story. Junior varsity captain Triston Ingwerson broke 91, followed by freshman Caleb Montgomery and Jacob Daniels breaking 89s. Zech Pettus shot an 85, Jewel Kerby an 84 and Keegan Divine 81.

Nate Biggs had an off day but still shot a 78, followed by Parker Summerville’s 77 and Wesley Langston’s 75.

Also shooting for the junior varsity team were Cali Jones, Kaleb Kiar, Nolan Mallery, Morgan Rausch and Dillon Ross, for a high five team score of 438.

“That was a fantastic JV score,” commented Giusti. “Their team score beat our highest JV score from 2017, and these kids just keep getting better and better.”

Guisti later continued, “I am expecting a lot out of the JV team this year, and I don’t think I will be disappointed.”

Coach Rob Schrag was also on hand for the event and was very impressed by the team scores. He noticed that if one kid had a bad day, another stepped up to shoot a fantastic score to push the team score higher.

The Claybreakers would like to acknowledge their appreciation of Range master Lowell Harwood and the Sierra Sportsman’s range for allowing these types of practices to simulate real competition.

Giusti pointed out that without the support of our community, this very expensive sport would be out of reach for most kids.

The team also relies heavily on the parents, who drive the students to practices at both ranges as well as out of town competitions.

This team represents not just Lassen High School, but Lassen County as a whole, and Giusti says he has no doubt they are going to represent the community well and make it proud.

The Lassen Grizzly Claybreakers first competition is Saturday, March 10 at the Coon Creek range in Lincoln, California, where they will be facing 19 other schools for the podium awards.