NORTH PLATTE, Neb. – Once the smoke cleared (literally), the Concordia University Shooting Sports team celebrated the first conference championship in program history. The Bulldogs outgunned a field of nine teams at the Prairie Circuit Classic Fall Championship that played out at Lincoln County Wildlife Gun Club in North Platte, Neb., Sept. 25-27. Concordia cracked 2,277 targets while holding off second-place Midland (2,257) and third-place Connors State College (2,155).
As part of the successful weekend, Head Coach Scott Moniot’s squad broke school records in skeet and double trap. Individually, graduate student Erin Lokke won the high overall (HOA) competition (including men and women). She is the first Bulldog to ever claim the individual conference title.
“We put this plan in motion from the get-go as far as how we wanted to put a team together,” Moniot said. “We’ve been putting all the pieces together and developing this young talent. We changed our training last week and the kids executed the plan extremely well. We came away with a pretty resounding victory. I think everyone understands now why we’re training the way we are. They see how this is working and they see where it can go when we work as a team. We’re pretty excited about it.”
A fire from the next county to the west made for smoky conditions that reduced visibility in North Platte. The accomplished Lokke cut through the smoke by hitting 479 of 500 total targets. That put her five targets in front of Midland’s Jace Garza for the championship. Across the five disciplines, Concordia took first in trap, skeet and double skeet and second in sporting clays and double trap. The new school records were 493 in skeet and 484 in double skeet.
The Bulldogs continue to be utterly dominant in terms of female shooters. Concordia swept the women’s all-conference awards with Lokke being joined on the honor roll by Rebecca Tierney (442), Sarah Schwacher (441), Nicole Breese (441), Monica Dale (435) and Emily Rasmussen (428). On the men’s side, Colten Uitermarkt (462) and Wyatt Hambly (453) achieved all-conference accolades. The event also recognized a group of all-conference freshmen with Bulldogs Jessie Ciezki, Claire Kee, Abby Kepplin, Breyer Meeks and Jack Nelson each landing on the list.
Concordia’s top shooters in the disciplines that it placed first in as a team were as follows:
· Erin Lokke (99)
· Jack Nelson (98)
· Wayne Moore (97)
· Colten Uitermarkt (96)
· Mack Origer (96)
· Wyatt Hambly (96)
· Colten Uitermarkt (100)
· Erin Lokke (99)
· Wyatt Ericksen (99)
· Wyatt Hambly (98)
· Five tied with 97
Double Skeet (484):
· Rebecca Tierney (98)
· Colten Uitermarkt (97)
· Sarah Schwacher (97)
· Erin Lokke (97)
· Claire Kee / Tommy Soso (95)
The field of competitors also included shooters from Eastern Oklahoma State College, Hastings, Jamestown, Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, Northwest Kansas Technical College and Wayne State College. The perennially strong Fort Hays State University (Kan.) program has not competed this fall. The Prairie Circuit includes teams from a seven-state region.
“We didn’t leave a whole lot of targets out there,” Moniot said. “What Erin did was unbelievable shooting. She just shot lights out. It was pretty fun to watch. It’s fun to be grouped in with Midland (as two of the best teams in the nation). I don’t think we’re going to catch anyone by surprise anymore when they see the numbers we’ve put up the last few weeks. We’re a team that others are going to have to get through.”
The Bulldogs now get set to host the Concordia Bulldog Sporting Invitational this Saturday and Sunday at Oak Creek Sporting Club in Brainard, Neb. Action is slated to get started at 9 a.m. CT both days.