116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR FALLS - In many sports, the difference between agony and ecstasy comes down to a single shot.
For Sam Fowler of Maquoketa, Iowa's best high school trapshooter, that shot was the last of 200 he fired last weekend in singles competition at the Scholastic Clay Target Program state championship.
Fowler broke all 100 birds Friday and was one shot away from a second perfect round Saturday - a feat that would have nailed down the the state singles title - when he lost focus and missed on his 200th and last shot in the competition.
'It was a huge disappointment. I was stressed out and went off by myself and walked for about two miles just to get my mind off it,” Fowler said.
While the miss was agony for a great shooter who hoped to go out with a perfect round, Fowler still had plenty to be ecstatic about.
His 199 tied for the top singles score with Evan Ingalls of Algona and they engaged in a shootoff to determine the state singles title. They remained tied after the first 25-round shootoff from 16 yards, but Fowler prevailed in the second round from 22 yards to win his second-straight individual state title.
'I am drained physically and emotionally,” Fowler said after the shootoff. 'The competition was insanely tough this year. I had to shoot my absolute best just to have a chance.”
That singles title made it a clean sweep for Fowler, who also won titles in both the doubles and handicap competition, held this year for the first time in conjunction with the state meet.
In the doubles competition, in which two birds are launched at once, Fowler and teammate Lane Dundee each broke 95 of 100 birds to tie for first, and Fowler won the 50-bird shootoff, 46-44.
In the handicap competition, which is shot at distances greater than the 16-yard standard for individual competition, Fowler broke 92 of 100 to edge Andrew Troje of North Scott by one shot.
Fowler's combined score in the three events earned him the top overall performer honor and captain of the all-state team for the fourth year in a row.
A Solon squad consisting of Justin Gibbs, Hunter Gehrke, Treven Stallman, Nicole Breese and Chase Gehrke shot a 968 (out of 1,000) to edge Maquoketa by one point for the team title.
Breese, Emily Klein of Clear Creek-Amana and Tayler Anderson of Bettendorf all shot 194s to tie for the top score among female competitors. Klein won the title in a shootoff.
A record field of almost 2,300 students from 101 teams participated in the 2016 state meet, according to Chris Van Gorp, shooting sports coordinator for the Department of Natural Resources.
'We're still adding teams every year as the sport becomes more accepted across the state,” Van Gorp said.
The sport's rapid growth has resulted in facility limitations, he said.
'The Cedar Falls Gun Club, the state's largest trap range, is not big enough,” he said.
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