HILLSBORO — In an event that featured 474 participants, recent Hermiston High grad Case Hiatt was the only one to walk away with a perfect score.
Hiatt hit 100 of a possible 100 targets June 22 at the Oregon State High School Trap Shooting Championships.
“He had a good day,” Hermiston coach Slade Smith said. “We have a really good group of kids.”
It’s the second time Hiatt has earned the individual high gun honors. He captured the title his freshman year, also with a perfect score.
As a team, Hermiston finished second at state to Madras by one target. The Bulldogs had won the past three state team titles.
“They had 468 out of 500, and we had 467,” Smith said. “We have pretty high standards for our program.”
It’s just the fourth year of the state championships for the event. The first year, there were just three teams, with Hermiston being one of them.
This year, there 35 teams.
“In 2016, we had 11 kids in our program,” Smith said. “This year we had 51. It is the fastest growing sport.”
The shooters compete in six events during the season, all at their own club. The scores are entered into a computer program and are organized at the state and national level.
Going into state, Hermiston was ranked No. 1 in the state, with Haylee Hamilton the top-ranked girls shooter. The incoming senior finished second at state.
Hamilton is among a group of six that will compete at the second annual national tournament July 11-14 in Mason, Mich. The Bulldogs finished seventh last year.
Also competing are recent graduates Thomas Mabbott and alternate Trevor Wilson; incoming seniors Kaden Smith and Mitchell Pimentel; and incoming junior Tyson Stocker.
All but Wilson will compete in the team competition, while all six will participate in the individual portion of the event.
“There are 1,000-plus teams in the nation, and 180 qualify for nationals,” Smith said. “There will be more than 2,000 kids at nationals.”
Despite his perfect score at state, Hiatt is not part of the national contingent.
“He has been part of the program for four years, but he was not one of our top five during the season,” Smith said. “It takes consistency to get the top.”
Because trap shooting still is a club sport, the Bulldogs are allowed to compete in Oregon. With Hermiston joining the WIAA last year, all school-sanctioned sports are contested in Washington.
As a club program, the team receives support from the Hermiston Gun Club, does fundraisers, applies for grants, and receives some support from the school district.
“We do a few different things to raise money,” Smith said. “We apply for grants through the NRA that cover our targets and ammo. The school has stepped up and helped these kids a lot.”