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COVID-19 closes gun clubs, delays season. State tournament still scheduled for June, nationals in July

COURTESY PHOTO - Wilsonville trap shooters Josh Bowen, A.J. Bovee and Jack Murrill are all back after competing at nationals last summer.

With its largest group yet, Wilsonville's trap shooting team was scheduled to begin practice this week at Canby Rod & Gun Club.

But like athletes all over the country, those 40 Wildcats are left waiting, and wondering when or if their season will start.

Due to COVID-19, the Canby Rod & Gun Club closed to non-members on March 24, following the latest executive order from Governor Kate Brown.

With school closed through April 28, Wilsonville is hoping to begin competition in May, and then go to the state tournament in June and nationals in Michigan in July.

"I'm not really sure how much of a season we'll get, if any," Wilsonville sophomore A.J. Bovee said. "If the school doesn't have a season, I'm just hoping that one of the clubs will open so I can go out and practice anyway."

Coached by Todd Tolboe, Wilsonville started its trap shooting team in 2017 with nine athletes. The squad grew to 18 athletes in 2018 and 26 in 2019.

Bovee and Jack Murrill finished in the top 10 of the conference boys standings last spring. Zoe Owen, Ellie Counts, Megan Maguire and Peyton Tolboe were all top 10 girls.

Bovee, Murrill and Josh Bowen all went to nationals last summer.

Bovee shot targets with his father before joining the team after attending a Wilsonville fun night.

"I was a pretty good shot so I liked going out with him, and I just loved the whole environment," Bovee said. "I loved shooting sports already, to have something tied to the school and have something involved with shooting is what clicked with me. A lot of the people at the gun club wanted to help the new shooters coming into the sport, and a lot of them were very encouraging for me to come out and shoot more and more as they saw me get better."

Bovee also worked with Dave Fielder, a certified pro instructor at Mid-Valley Clays & Shooting School in Gervais.

But due to the coronavirus, Bovee and the rest of the Wilsonville trap shooters have to wait, hoping they will get another chance to compete against the state and nation's best.

"Since I can't go out to the range, there's not a whole lot I can do," Bovee said. "Right now I'm mostly making sure that I'm prepared mentally and my gun is all fitted to me correctly, and I'm watching videos to see if I can find other tips to help maybe increase my scores a little bit. I want to improve at least a couple of birds per round. I was really happy to see more and more people are coming out to try it, especially younger kids."

Derek Wiley
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