Few events get Marian girls more excited than Field Day. The Marian halls begin to buzz with anticipation of April 29 weeks before the actual event. It seems like every student is looking forward to this day, but there was one important group feeling left out this year.
The trap team has known for weeks that they would have to make a difficult choice. The state trap meet was scheduled for the same day at the same time as Field Day. Unfortunately, there will be no High School Musical shenanigans where teen heartthrobs dash between several events and pull off a quiz bowl, basketball game, and musical all at the same time. These teen heartthrobs had to make a choice to either compete at the state trap meet or compete at Field Day.
The state meet was in Doniphan, Nebraska, which is two hours west of Omaha and 20 minutes south of Grand Island. This means the members of the trap team embarked on this long trek on the Thursday before Field Day.
That night, the competing girls practiced in preparation for their competition. The state meet lasted two days, Friday and Saturday, with each shooter shooting at 75 targets each day.
Freshman Samantha Tracy had to make the difficult choice between her first Field Day and her first state trap meet. “My decision for missing my first Field Day was an easy choice because I have never known what Field Day really is, and I still don’t know too much about it, but I have been shooting for three years,” she said.
Tracy said she has had great experiences through trap and feels a strong sense of community with her teammates. Her long practices are spent with a group of girls who have welcomed her and made her feel like a part of the group. With any difficult decision, she still feels torn.
“I feel like I might be missing out, but I think trap only falls on Field Day once every four years, so it’s better my freshman year than my senior year,” she said.
Unfortunately, the exact opposite is true for senior Allison Zuerlein. “Choosing between my trap family and my Marian family was one of the hardest decisions of my senior year,” she said. She was urged by many to choose Field Day, but her family was supportive of either decision. She ultimately chose to go to state trap.
“The final deal breaker was that if I went to Field Day and was on the ‘Field Day squad,’ it would mean shooting later in the day on Friday, so I wouldn’t be able to shoot on Marian’s top squad and possibly win a team award. The trap family is my second family. I have dozens more moms and dads that I want to make proud,” she said.
Zuerlein still contributed to her class in every way she could, from learning every word of the demo to using her veteran experience to help on the costume committee, as this was her fourth year making costumes for her class.
The first day of the meet, Friday, all shooters shoot at 75 targets from 16 yards from the trap house, the big metal box that launches the clay pigeons. The second day, the shooters either stay on the 16-yard line or move back. Their score on the first day determined the distance they move back.
The staggered shooting distances allows shooters of varying abilities to compete on an equal playing field for the handicap category. There are also two other categories, individual and team, that were also up for grabs.
Junior Sarah Villarreal also chose trap over Field Day. “I’m kind of sad because I like being there with my class. Field Day’s a fun day, but I’m really committed to trap. It was an easy decision.” She still helped her class by working on the costume committee.
This was Villarreal’s third state trap meet. At her first state trap meet, she recalls she learned her “own definition of integrity.” She remembers watching a round when an opponent shot a clay pigeon, but the scorer thought the girl missed. The Marian girl competing raised her hand to alert the scorer of his mistake. The Marian girl ended up winning anyway, but it was the honorable act of winning honestly that made a lasting impact on Villarreal.
One group of shooters was able to shoot trap and attend Field Day. It was a busy day, but it was possible. They started their day at Field Day and drove the nearly 150 miles to the shooting range to compete for their school.
The most competitive groups shoot in the morning, since conditions are most ideal early in the day. The wind tends to only get worse as the day goes on, making it more difficult to shoot later in the day.
The Marian trap team has earned prime spots early in the morning, and understandably, the team does not want to give them up. If the team gave up the time slots this year, another school would swoop in and grab them for this year and years to come. Because of this, only five girls had the option to do both.
Many trap stars made their final, difficult decision to go to state trap and miss the anticipated Marian Field Day. This decision was not easy, since they were forced to choose between two groups of people who have impacted them in so many ways. On the morning of April 29, as most of the Marian student body were preparing for Field Day, the Marian trap team was shooting for the stars.