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Concordia College to add clay target to sports roster in Fall 2024

Concordia College students will get a shot at a whole new sport soon, as the school aims to start its new clay target program in Fall 2024.

Its coach, Duane Kashmark ‘92, has extensive experience in the sport, having worked with students at Moorhead Public Schools since 2017, and he looks forward to working with Concordia athletes too.

The best part of the sport is the competition, he said.

Starting out, participants compete against themselves, working to better their scores and getting just as excited about hitting even one target as a more skilled athlete would get earning a perfect score.

“When an athlete gets their first 25/25, that’s exciting,” he said. “But I’ve probably had more kids get excited about a 12.”

Spurred by competition with other athletes, experienced participants up their game.

“That higher level of competition brings out the best in people,” Kashmark said, noting that dedicated students will often stay behind for a few more rounds of practice after the scheduled practice time is over.

Concordia is a member of the USA College Clay Target League, which includes more than 35 teams and 400 athletes. The organization offers four different events for students to compete in — trap shooting, skeet shooting, sporting clays, and 5-stand.

Initially, Concordia’s program will focus on trap shooting, the most popular event for high school students, Kashmark said, likely because it’s a consistent event that doesn’t require much extra equipment.

In trap shooting, athletes shoot from five stations arranged in a semicircle around a trap house — which is where the targets are launched from. Participants use either a 12-gauge or a 20-gauge shotgun to shoot two 25-target rounds, five at each station, in a competition.

With the USA College Clay Target League, contests are held virtually, allowing athletes to compete without traveling long distances. Concordia plans to host some in-person events.

Athletes will not store their guns on the Concordia campus, Kashmark said, noting that his program will have a safety-first emphasis.

In order to register for the team at all, student-athletes must have earned a league-approved firearm safety certification, as well as meeting the usual academic requirements to participate in extracurricular activities. Some students may have the certification due to experience hunting, without having tried clay target shooting before.

“Most of the athletes will have experience, but it always amazes me how many new students we get,” Kashmark said. “New people are welcome to try it out. It’s fun watching new athletes get involved in the sport.”

Clay target is an inclusive sport, with competitions for men and women, and those who aren’t athletic in other sports can succeed just as well as those who are.

Participants do need to own their own firearm to participate, but given its status as a college sport, Concordia will pay for practice ammunition and targets — a significant benefit when a single round can cost $12-15. Concordia will also pay athletes’ membership fee for the USA College Clay Target League.

For more information, contact or 218.299.4434.