Derek Salaba

Northfield’s Derek Salaba drilled 98 out of a possible 100 targets during the state finals last year, and is one of four Raiders who competed at state back this spring. (News File Photo)

Numbers have never been a problem for Northfield, although the Raiders are currently boasting a total of 108 shooters that are out for this spring.

What’s more important in a competitive sense, though, is that Northfield coach Scott Quiring believes his team can essentially go seven squads deep. Taking averages from last spring and this fall, Quiring said his seventh squad, all consisting of five shooters, is averaging around 19 hits per 25 targets.

His top set of five is averaging a hair under 23 hits per 25.

“Those top seven squads, 35 kids that really have the potential to continue to improve and help us in those weekly competitions, but I really strive to practice for the (section) competition,” Quiring said. “The (section) competition is what gets us into the state tournament.”

At last year’s state tournament, Northfield finished 25th, and it returns four of the five shooters from that day with the lone exception being Noah Miller. Derek Salaba, Cole Dack, Matthew Riehm and Sam Miller all return, as well as the first two alternates, Elias Quiring and Zach Malecha.

With that depth and experience coming back, Scott Quiring said he’s got big goals for the state finals, and if things go well there, potentially nationals.

“We had our safety meeting and I was challenging the kids to get us all the way to nationals this year,” Scott Quiring said. “Let’s try to win the state tournament and compete at nationals, so I’m really excited for this year.”

Where that success might not show up is throughout the conference season, which averages the scores from each of the shooters that compete.

Quiring likes to send out each shooter that comes to practice in competitions, so the overall average is somewhat anchored by inexperienced shooters. The flip side of that is that inexperience eventually turns into top-end talent.

“It’s an ongoing train,” Scott Quiring said. “A lot of those new shooters are seventh and eighth grade, so we’re focusing on the fundamentals with them to train them up. The week-to-week competitions are challenging a little bit, but we get to the state championship and we can compete with everybody because of those top seven squads. We can put up some great numbers when it’s just a select group of shooters.”

First competition: April 14

Last year’s finish: The Raiders earned 25th place at the state finals.

Major departures

Noah Miller

Key returners

Cole Dack

Zach Malecha

Noah Miller

Elias Quiring

Matthew Riehm

Derek Salaba

Reach Sports Editor Michael Hughes at 645-1106. Follow him on Twitter @NFNSports.

©Copyright 2019 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

Sports Editor for the Northfield News. Also a California native looking for tips on surviving the winter and an Indiana University grad on the quest for a good breaded pork tenderloin.

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