Taking a Shot at the Olympics


Sunny Freckles Photography

Senior and All American trap shooter Blake Greckel has been shooting trap since he was 10 years old. With over 300 accolades, he most recently tried out to make the United States National team.
Trap shooting is a sport which involves the throwing of a clay pigeon into the air so a shooter may attempt to hit it.
Trap shooting dates back to the 18th century, being one of the very first shooting sports to emerge. In 1896, trap appeared at the Summer Olympic Games in Athens.
There are different types of trapshooting, such as American trap shooting and International trap shooting. International trap shooting, often called bunker, is shot in the Olympic Games.
“It is said, and to me, it is 100 percent true that shooting is around 95 percent mental and 5 percent physical. If the competitor is not prepared mentally then they will not shoot well. The sport is incredibly spontaneous; as a shooter you never know where the target is going to come out and the height or speed of the target, as well as the angle,” Greckel said.
Greckel is not the first in his family to participate in trap. His dad Corey and brother Nathan also participate.
Blake got involved in trap because of his love for guns and for sports, but there is no doubt that it is a family tradition.
Corey has been Blake’s coach and mentor since the beginning. Corey also coaches at the Mitchell trap shooting club and the Mutton Busters 4-H club.
“It’s been tough coaching Blake because I’m his dad, but some of the best years of my life were spent with my kids on the road teaching them and seeing how far they have come,” Corey said.
After spending weeks at a time on the road going to competitions, Blake and Corey have been able to make many memories.
“Trap is an everyday thing in our lives. When it’s time to practice, we practice. I watch him and see if there are things he needs help with. I also film to find things that need adjusting,” Corey said.
“I practice at the Mitchell valley trap club on normal American trap, which does not give me the same targets as International trap. The American trap throws the target at 42 mph whereas the international trap throws targets ranging from speeds of 60 mph to 100mph,” Greckel said.
Due to Greckel’s dedication to practice, he has been invited to multiple trapshooting camps during his involvement, two of which were Olympic training camps. They have taken place at the Olympic training center in Colorado Springs, CO.
“The camps are extremely fun. The shooting sports committee pays for all of your expenses and the food that is made in the cafeteria is amazing. It is especially healthy, as they do have to feed Olympic athletes throughout the day,” Greckel said.
He has traveled to four Olympic selection matches, where shooters from the U.S. of all different ages travel and compete for a gold medal. Once achieving the gold medal, the shooter is put on the U.S. National team, and then travels to a World Cup; which occurs somewhere outside of the United States.
If the Shooter were to win a gold medal at the world cup, they would then be placed on the Olympic team, and compete in the Olympics.
Out of nearly 200 competitors at the event, Greckel placed 15th in his division just shy of making the United States National team. His next competition will be the National Championship in June.