Freshman reaches nationals in trap

Eleanor Cruz discusses her journey


Jesse Belen

What is trap? 

Trap is a sport where you shoot flying clay pigeons. The clay pigeons are launched into the air with a special machine. 

How long have you been doing trap? 

Since seventh grade. 

Why did you start trap? 

I started because my dad wanted me to. He shot a different kind of clay pigeon game called sporting clays. Trap is just a different genre and the only thing they had at the school so he wanted me to try it. 

How do you feel when you’re shooting? 

I feel calm and focused. You can’t really feel much when you’re doing trap because if you let your emotions get ahead of you then your shot will be off, and being off just a little bit will cause you to miss.  

How do you feel about going to nationals? 

I’m really excited to see what it’s like and I have a step-cousin who will also be going and I hope to do well. 

How will you prepare for nationals? 

There’s not a lot of things you can do to practice for trap, so you really have to shoot a lot and just be prepared for the mental game that goes into it. You have to be calm and focused, and it’s really hard to do when you’re in a setting like nationals because there will be a lot of people and there’s a lot of pressure so you have to be really focused on what you’re doing. 

Does Mr. Plantz leaving affect your performance? 

He was never a good coach, even though he was really passionate about the sport. I never learned anything from him, everything I learned about shooting trap was from my dad. It makes no difference to me that he’s leaving except the fact that the program almost got shut down. 

Who’s the new coach for trap? 

My dad is, but Adam Erlandson is the assistant coach, and he has a more active role in trap. Even though my dad is the coach and is there every practice, Adam does more of the dealing with students and makes sure everything is working properly. 

Do you have advice for anyone who wants to go to nationals for trap? 

Just stick with it, it gets really hard. Sometimes it gets really discouraging when you shoot a bad round, you can feel really discouraged and it can feel like you’re failing. I just want you to know that I shoot bad rounds all the time and at the end of the day it’s how you do overall, not how you do in one round. 

Nationals for trap are July 8 and 9.