Nick Nissen off to a great start in shooting trap career
Dean Nissen can remember at an early age his son Nick loving the outdoors.
“He would fish from dawn to dark,” he said.
It wasn’t just fishing.
“He’s an very accomplished hunter,” Dean continued. “He had two large bow bucks on opening days the last three years.
“He’s an also an extremely good archer, rifleman and a great turkey caller.”
Yet, for all those exploits, shooting trap might be where his greatest success lies.
As Dean explained, Nick was taking hunter safety classes when he was 11 (he’s now 15 and starting his sophomore year at Osceola High School Wednesday). Each kid was trying rifle and shotgun at clays where coach Mike Annunziata noticed his ability.
“He can make the most difficult targets look easy,” Annunziata said. “Shooting on a windy day with targets “dancing” a lot and his ability to shoot targets right out of the weeds.”
Nick competed in his first year at Nationals at the Scholastic Clay Target program in Ohio where the event was a little overwhelming.
Dean estimated there were 10,000 shooters there and they almost had to pry him out of the vehicle to go shoot.
Four years later, those nerves are almost certainly gone.
Nick finished fourth in the singles portion of junior varsity category at the 2020 Nationals in Ohio last month. Singles mean the shooters stand 16 yards away from the center of the “trap house” and shoots at random targets that fly at various angles in front of him. There are five positions that each shooter shoots from, five shots per position, totaling 25 shots or one round.
“It’s an amazing moment when you can go 25-for-25,” Nick said.
At the State meet held earlier this month Nick finished with a first place in the junior varsity category for trap and second in sporting clays.
“The State meet is where I felt the most calmest,” Nick explained. “Nothing stressed me.
“Shooting trap is more mental than anything. If you miss one, you have to just let it go.”
What impressed those around him was Nick didn’t pick up a gun between Nationals and State.
“He needed about a month off,” Dean said. “He went cold turkey.”
It is one of the many things his father has been impressed with over the years.
“He is blessed with incredible fast hand eye coordination,” Dean continued. “Coaches and teammates always marvel at him pulling off some impossible shot on a sporting clays course.”
An example of that came when he competed on his first Sporting Clay course when he was 13. He took a gun he never shot before and came back with a third place at the State Clay course.
Or, two years ago at Nationals in Ohio, Nick wanted to use his new Browning over/under purchased four days before the event, while he was advised to use his 870 pump. Nick eventually won the argument and finished with a 96-for-100 in a hard rainstorm.
“Weather doesn’t affect him,” Dean said.
“You can see the target better in the darkness,”said Nick.
Yet, both Nick and Dean praised the culture around him for another factor in his success.
“I have super good teammates,” Nick said. “I love hanging out with my friends.”
“The boys really appreciate the coaches, parents and teammates that makes this fun and a true learning experience. They are making lifelong friends along the way,” said Dean.
Now, with his junior varsity career finished, Nick says he is ready for varsity life to begin this spring.