Maize athletes find success in a different sport
For a group of Maize athletes, competition starts with one word.
"The first time you ever say pull, it is weird, if you've never shot a gun before. But then as you keep going and get better and better and then the next thing you know you are getting perfect scores and then you're shooting your personal best, that is when the adrenaline kicks in," said Tannyr Singleterry.
The Maize trap shooting team has three rules. Safety, fun, and marksmanship. The first being the most important.
"Out here we take such safety precautions but we also try to have some fun. We try to have competitions but most of the time it is a competition against yourself," Singleterry added.
The team at Maize high school started four years ago, a lot of the athletes say the growth they've seen since is encouraging, not only in the sport, but in each other.
"In my three years, I have seen a lot more shooters, but I have also seen my teammates get better as the years go on," explained Hunter Aaron.
Trap shooting isn't a KSHSAA sanctioned sport but that hasn't stopped the rapid growth in the last few years. Right now there are more than 80 teams across the state and that number could be on the way up.
Competitors say this gives them something different to do instead of the traditional high school sports.
"What got me the most is I have been hunting and shooting since I was born, I can't think of a time where I didn't want to shoot," Aaron explained.
Aaron is a junior on the team and is ranked second out of more than 900 shooters in the state. The shooters on the Maize High School team aren't only some of the best in the area but in the country. Last year the team ended with a trip to the national championship where they finished 31st as a team, Singleterry finished in the top 300 out of more than 1700 shooters.
"I think I got 97 out of 100 and then I went and shot 99 out of 100," Singleterry said of his success
While the fall season is still young, the athletes I talk share that they're excited for what this year will bring and that they'll keep yelling the same four letter word.