Shane Sullivan was having a perfect day on the range in the trapshooting class 7A state tournament June 17. He had shot 98 targets in a row and needed only two more to get a perfect 100 out of 100 and most likely take the state title in trapshooting. As he put his shell in his 12-gauge Benelli for the 99th shot, his action did not close all the way and when he pulled back his shell fell out. He had to put it back in, messing up his rhythm.
“Probably the worst time for that to happen because there was only one more shot after that,” Sullivan said.
Coach Bob Goebel, too nervous to watch Sullivan near the end of his round, had his back turned.
“I was not facing the field and I heard a sigh and asked one of the parents, ‘was that a good sigh or a bad sigh?’” Goebel said.
Sullivan hit his 99th shot making it 99 in a row and then nailed his 100th making his state tournament round a perfect one. Goebel jumped around for joy, Sullivan’s parents had wide smiles and his teammates were giving high-fives knowing Sullivan’s performance in the state tournament was special.
“I did not feel as nervous, which was good because those last shots I usually do get nervous,” Sullivan said.
Each athlete at the state tournament shoots four 25 rounds of targets, making your score out of 100. Sullivan’s best round of 25 before the state tournament was 23. Having never before shot a perfect 25 out of 25, and then pulling out four in a row on the biggest stage even surprised Sullivan.
Sullivan, who lives in Hugo, just finished his junior year at Mahtomedi High School. His love for trapshooting comes from his love of the outdoors and guns. He played other sports like football and hockey, but his bad ankles made him stop. He had surgery on his left ankle in the fall.
His performance in the state tournament tied him for first with Kyle Dupont of St. Michael-Albertville High School as the only two athletes to have perfect scores.
Mahtomedi as a team shot 482 out of 500, which was good enough for fourth place in class 7A. In all the classes, 482 out of 500 ranks Mahtomedi 16th overall. Goebel has been Mahtomedi’s trapshooting coach for all six years of its existence and he said it was the best state tournament they’ve had as a team. Eleven of Mahtomedi’s athletes got 24 out of 25 on a round and 11 athletes had a perfect 25 out of 25 with Sullivan claiming the only perfect 100 out of 100 in his four rounds.
“Getting in a rhythm was big for me and I think it helped a lot of people on our team because we had a lot of 25s,” Sullivan said.
Before Sullivan, the best a Mahtomedi shooter had done was 75 in a row and only once did someone score a perfect 50 after their first two rounds. Sullivan’s four perfect rounds shattered that school record.
He hopes to repeat as champion his senior year. After that, Sullivan has interest in studying aviation in college at either the University of North Dakota or Minnesota State University, Mankato.
His coach described Sullivan as “very coachable.”
“Shane is such a humble, modest kid,” Goebel said. “He gets along with everyone on the team.”