Christenson wins conference title, advances to state again

On the fifth and final week of the 2017 Minnesota State High School clay target league, the Panthers of NRHEG posted two scores of 49/50, four rounds with perfect 25s, and a few personal records to hold tight on their place as runner-up for Conference 3 of Class 7A.

The team leaders, Collin Christenson and Zachary Eustice, each posted the 49s, which not only helped the team secure its spot in the conference but also locked in their invitations to attend the MSHSL State Individual Tournament in Prior Lake on June 24.

For Christenson, it also locked in the top spot of all conference shooters with a final average of 24.2 out of 25. He managed to nudge out two shooters from the conference winners out of Monticello and one shooter from third-place Big Lake in the final week.

For Christenson, this will be his third trip to the individual tournament in four years while Eustice will be making the trip for the first time. The other two perfect rounds of 25 were shot by Jaden Holtus and Charlie Pittman. For Pittman, this was his first career 25 round and his best overall round of 48/50.

As always, it isn't just about the top shooters, but the whole field of 42 scores that count each week. On the bottom half both Monticello and NRHEG posted a number of 33s which, when combined with the mixture of athletes in the top 20, led to a virtual stalemate for the last week with Monticello squeaking past NRHEG by 24 points.

Finishing in the top 25 male shooters in the conference after Christenson (1) and Eustice (6) were Noah Lund (9), Ashton Worke (18), Evan Dobberstein (18), and Alex Romer (24).

On the female side, Morgan Phillips finished her best season with a 20.6 average, good for 5th overall.

The team now sets their sights on the Class 7A Championship in Alexandria on June 18. Thirty-six of the team’s athletes will be shooting for team and individual recognition in Novice, Jr. Varsity, and Varsity divisions as well as trying to qualify for the MSHSL State Team tournament. If they can do that it would be their second consecutive trip.

Fans who can not make the trip are welcome to follow updates on the team's Facebook page. Just search for NRHEG Clay Target Team.