Hot Springs Bison Claybusters finish third at the State Tourney

Submitted photo

Member of the Hot Springs Bison Claybuster trapshooting team who competed this past weekend at the State Tournament in Aberdeen included, back row from left: Terry Hammel, Nate Wold, Terry Reetz, Ciara Stewart, Ella Bossert. Middle row: Aden Pankowski, Thor Fish, Zayden Laplaca, Kyle Sanders, Lyndsay Reetz,Ray Sanders, Zetta Kuhl. Front row: Ethan O’Connor, Sheldon Neugebauer, Sean Shipp, Jessica Wahlert, Nate Thompson, Jacie Behlings.


ABERDEEN - On Saturday, June 10, the Hot Springs High School Varsity Trapshooting Team took the field in a windy Aberdeen with 25 other teams. The wind blew hard and the competition was close, according to Coach Jim Woehl, which ultimately saw Hot Springs finish third overall behind state champion Groton and state runner-up Belle Fourche.

The overall score was determined by the top scores of each team. Hot Springs’ top-six included Kyle Sanders (96), Zayden Laplaca (95), Sean Shipp (91), Terry Hammel (91), Zetta Kuhl (91), Terry Reetz (91).

“At the end of the day the Claybusters finished third with at score of 464/500, which was just two targets behind Belle Fouche, who placed second with a 466. Groton was the state Champion with a 480,” Coach Woehl said.

Individually, the Claybusters did very well. There were 168 athletes in the Varsity Division (season average >19/25). Hot Springs male placings were: Kyle Sanders (7th), Zayden Laplaca (10th), Terry Hammel (tie-29th), Sean Shipp (tie-29th), Terry Reetz (tie-29th), Thor Fish (tie-71st), Aden Pankowski (tie-71st), Ray Sanders (84th). Female varsity placings were: Zetta Kuhl (4th), Ciara Stewart (13th), Lyndsay Reetz (18th), Ella Bossert (22nd).

Hot Springs also had four Claybusters in the Jr Varsity Division (season Average 15-18.99) (124 total).  Male: Nate Wold (27th), Sheldon Neugebauer (75th), Ezra Wollman (85th). Female: Jacie Behlings (10th).

The team also had three shooters in the Novice Division (season average <15) (84 total). Male: Nate Thompson (14th), Ethan O’Connor (45th). Female: Jessica Wahlert (11th). 

“Three Claybusters also made the All State Team,” Coach Woehl said. “This is the top-100 averages for the entire state (1,344 athletes). Our three All State performers are Kyle Sanders, Thor Fish and Ciara Stewart.”

“The team would like to give a special thank you to our sponsors that made this seasons success possible,” said Coach Woehl. “They are the American Legion Post 71, South Dakota Youth Hunting Adventures, Black Hills Federal Credit Union, and Fall River Health Services.”

In addition to recently placing third at the Class 1A State Tournament in Aberdeen, the Hot Springs High School Claybusters trapshooting team also won the Conference 4 Championship after winning all five weeks of their spring competition.

The Spring 2023 Claybusters team was composed of 20 athletes from Hot Springs, Custer, and Home School, including 14 males and 6 females ranging from grade 7 through 12.  “This made for a wonderful diverse team with varying years of experience,” said Coach Jim Woehl.

Conference 4 consisted of Hot Springs, De Smet, Lemmon, Rapid City Area, Sunshine Bible Academy, Viborg-Hurley, and Warner, with the 14-top scores used each week to determine the teams’ points and placing.

Hot Springs scored 1,130, 1,109.5, 1,095.5, 1,066.5, and 1,098.5 respectivelty, for a season total of 5,500. Warner was second with 4,264 points, followed by Rapid City Area, De Smet, Sunshine Bible Academy, Lemmon and Viborg-Hurley.

At the state “Top 25 by gender”, Female Division, Ciara Stewart finished 4th, Zetta Kuhl T11th, Ella Bossert T 11th.  Male Division, Kyle Sanders 24th.

The Claybusters had total of 14 team members (8 male, 6 female) that achieved “Top 25 by Gender”in Conference 4.  This is the equivalent of All Conference in other sports. Female Honorees are: Ciara Stewart #1*, Zetta Kuhl #2*, Ella Bossert #3*, Lyndsay Reetz #8, Jacie Behlings #11, Jessica Wahlert, #13.  Male Honorees are: Kyle Sanders #1*, Thor Fish #3*, Sean Shipp #8, Terry Reetz #10, Zayden Laplaca #11, Ray Sanders #16, Terry Hammel #17, Aden Pankowski #17.  (* indicates medalist)

“Our Overall 2023 Team Season Average was 19.06,” Coach Woehl said. “Which is the highest it has ever been!”

“We had five First year Claybusters this year,” Woehl added. “Over the course of the season, their skills grew immensely. They are Thor Fish, Ethan O’Connor, Nate Thompson, Jessica Walhert, and Ezra Wollman. It’s going to be a pleasure to work with these young athletes in the upcoming years to see what is in store for them.”

“Finally, we have the bittersweet duty of saying ‘See you at the next shoot’ to our five graduated seniors including Ella Bossert, Lyndsay Reetz, Terry Reetz, Ciara Stewart, and Nate (Ned) Wold. {It has been a privilege to be a part of their High School experience. We hope they take fond memories of their time with the Claybusters with them wherever their life leads. We expect them to come back and shoot with us whenever they can. ‘Once a Claybuster, Always a Claybuster!’”

2023 Claybuster Varsity Letter Winners 

First year – Thor Fish, Holden Luper; Second Year – Sean Shipp, Zayden Lapaca, Ella Bossert, Ray Sanders, Aden Pankowski, Nathaniel Wold, Sheldon Neugebauer, Jacie Behlings; Third Year – Lyndsay Reetz, Terry Hammel, Zetta Kuhl; Fourth Year – Ciara Stewart, Terry Reetz; Fifth Year – Kyle Sanders

Fall River County Herald Star

EDGEMONT OFFICE: 410 2nd Avenue   Edgemont, SD 57735-0660 | 605.662.7201
HOT SPRINGS OFFICE: 334 S. Chicago St.  Hot Springs, SD 57747 | 605.745.3930
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