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Trapshooting: Silver Bay’s Rowlee named All-State

Thomas Rowlee takes aim at a clay target during the state trapshooting meet June 22 in Alexandria. (Photo courtesy Jessalyn Hansen)

Thomas Rowlee started his day a little jumpy at the Minnesota state trapshooting meet June 22 in Alexandria.

The rising William Kelley High School senior went to the state meet in 2017 as part of the WKHS team, but this season, he qualified as an individual.

His average of 24.4 clay targets hit per 25-target round was good enough to rank him eighth in the state, but his first couple of rounds weren’t great for the typically sharpshooting Rowlee, hitting just 22-of-25 in the first round and 21-of-25 in the second round.

“I was very jittery my first two rounds,” he said.

After the first two disappointing rounds, Rowlee took a second to slow everything down and employed a strategy he had done countless times over the season when he was starting to get close to a perfect round of 25 targets hit.

“My heartbeat starts to go up when I get my 20 straight in a round,” Rowlee said. “So then I just take a breath and act like it’s any other bird.”

Rowlee rebounded with consecutive rounds of 24-of-25 for a total score of 91 at the meet. His finish in 85th place wasn’t a high as Rowlee hoped, but it was good enough to be named garner him All-State accolades. He also knows if he had shot his average, about 98 over four rounds, he would have placed in the top 20 in the state.

Rowlee said he hopes to return to Alexandria in 2019 and improve his average over the next year. If he improves his average, Rowlee won’t just be looking at a top 20 finish — he’ll be contending to bring a state title home to Silver Bay.

When he’s not playing hockey in the winter, Rowlee is an avid hunter. He’ll have plenty of time to practice at the Silver Beaver Gun Club outside Silver Bay and hunting grouse, bears and other game.

Jamey Malcomb

Jamey Malcomb has been a reporter for the Pine Journal since October 2018. He previously worked as a reporter for the Lake County News-Chronicle from 2015-2018. Malcomb is a native of North Carolina and holds a bachelor's degree in English and history from the George Washington University and a master's degree in education from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. Malcomb moved to Minnesota in July 2012 and worked as a sports clerk and news assistant at the Duluth News Tribune. 

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