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CC/NP trap team members Burkhardt, Cross, Demro and Groothuis to shoot for Hawkeye CC RedTails

CC/NP trap team members Burkhardt, Cross, Demro and Groothuis to shoot for Hawkeye CC RedTails
Press photo by John Burbridge
Nashua-Plainfield senior Dawson Demro, shown here hitting a target during a meet earlier in his prep trap shooting career, has signed to sport shoot for Hawkeye Community College. Three other members of the Charles City/Nashua-Plainfield trap shooting team — Carter Burkhardt, Cole Cross and Micaiah Groothuis — also signed to shoot for the RedTails.

By John Burbridge

ROCKFORD — Some teams rebuild. Others reload.

The Hawkeye Community College sport shooting team is in process of doing the latter. And you can take that “literally.

On Wednesday, four members of the Charles City/Nashua-Plainfield trap shooting team signed their letters of intent to sport shoot for the Waterloo-based RedTails next school year. The seniors include Carter Burkhardt from Charles City; Cole Cross from Rockford; and Dawson Demro and Micaiah Groothuis from Nashua-Plainfield.

Three separate signings took place at different times at the schools of the respective student-athletes.

“This is the most we recruited from one program,” said RedTails head coach Troy Emley, who credited CC/NP head coach Mike Oleson for his help making it happen.

He could also thank Oleson for the last time he dipped into the CC/NP program. Charles City 2022 graduate Colton Crooks, who was the Varsity Male champion at Scholastic Clay Target Program State Shoot his senior year after hitting a meet record 249 of 250 targets, continued his shooting career with the RedTails.

“He has been doing real well with us,” Emley said of Crooks, who recently placed third in the Male Super Sport and seventh in Male High Overall at the Central Midwest Conference Championships in Columbia, Missouri on March 1-3.

“He was the best community college shooter at the championships,” Emley said of Crooks, who was also named the RedTails Male Athlete of the Week due to his performance at the meet.

The RedTails may be due for some more feted performances from their soon-to-be newest shooters, who — like Crooks — have shot their share of perfect and near-perfect rounds.

“I’m excited to be able to shoot at the next level,” said Cross, who will study heating and air conditioning at HCC.

Burkhardt, who was at Cross’s signing at Rockford Monday morning before his own at Charles City later in the afternoon, says he’s happy for the opportunity to shoot with familiar teammates.

“That helped me with my decision,” said Burkhardt, who plans to study natural resources, “but I just really like shooting … especially a chance to shoot with a team like the RedTails.”

Demro was hesitant to go out for the trap squad his freshman year. He realized it was one of the best decisions he’s ever made in his life. Demro said he never envisioned a day like Wednesday where he would be signing on to play college sports, especially in trap.

“No – not at all,” said Demro. “It was just kind of something I thought I’d be interested in and just kind of signed on. I didn’t want to go out for it, to be honest. My mom kind of forced me into it.”

Demro is grateful for his mom’s “encouragement”.

“That would have been the biggest thing I ever regretted,” Demro said of not giving the sport a “shot”.

Groothuis, who is homeschooled and is dual-enrolled at N-P, now has a passion to compete in a sport he didn’t know all that much about when he first started learning about what it takes to become adept at trapshooting.

“It’s taking the next step for life…being able to do what I love and shoot for college,” said Groothuis.

When asked what adjustments his new shooters will have to make at the college level, Emley said, “The targets are the same in high school, it’s just the level of competition is much higher as you’re against shooters from across the country.

“The biggest adjustment is college life itself. You’re going to take classes in fields you’re interested in and you’re going to have more free time between classes. It’s what you do with this free time that’s important.

“For many kids going away to college, it’s their first time living away from their families. Here, we try to help these kids to be better on the field, to be better in the classroom and to be better in life.”

Current HCCl freshman Reed Peters is another Charles City alum on the RedTails shooting team.

“I am constantly thinking about different things … about getting these kids recognized,” Oleson said. “For the longest time just local people knew what trap shooting was all about.”

— Kelly Terpstra contributed to this story

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