Shooting team dominates at nationals


Submitted to the Simpsonian

After a trip to Las Vegas, the shooting team came back to Indianola necks laden with medals.

by Taryn Bertini, Staff Reporter

The Simpson Shooting Sports team picked up right where they left off with an impressive showing at the National Collegiate Shooting Sports Athletics Association (NCSSAA) Championship. having four athletes place.

Junior Breydon Paxson won two individual titles in doubles trap and American trap by scoring a 96 and perfect 100 respectively. 

“Nationals is definitely a surreal kind of moment, you only can go if you qualify, so you know you’re competing against the best across the whole country,” Paxson said.

The team only had two weeks to prepare for the competition in Las Vegas, Nevada, as it was too cold to practice outside. Paxson said it was more of a mental preparation that the team went through to get ready and learning how to control the stress and anxiety that comes with performing on such a big stage.

As the team had a great performance last year at nationals, they again had high hopes for the 2022-23 season.

“We came off of a national title last year, so I wanted to recreate that experience that we had,” Paxson said, also adding his individual goals were to shoot the best he could in every division and place in each event. 

Another member of the team who stood out was senior Anna Lopez, adding her own individual title in American trap with a score of 95.

“I definitely wanted to place at nationals either as a team or individually. We knew that we were going to have some tough competition, so we were really trying to make up birds where we could,” Lopez said.

At the conclusion of the meet, head coach Dan Martin received the NCSSAA Coach of the Year award for Division III. The award is given to a coach in each division who excels in teaching athletes how to grow, how to lead themselves on and off the field and how to carry their character.

“It was a really big deal for us just as much as it was for him,” Paxson said.

Lopez also added the team knew this award was coming because no one deserved it more than him and it was important to the team that he received recognition for all of his work too.

The team ended up claiming the runner-up title to the Mountaineers of Schreiner University with their highest score of the competition in American trap earning a 481 out of 500.

Simpson brought seven athletes to nationals, with other contributors being seniors Victoria Barksdale, Wyatt Hiesterkamp and Kylie Tierney, junior Riley Ericson and sophomore Carson Cummings. 

“I am proud of the team, being a senior, I can’t say thank you enough. They deserve all the recognition they can get,” Lopez said.