Centerville, Iowa – Indian Hills Community College sports shooting coach Jake Stalzer signed his first recruit for the college’s fledgling program, and he didn’t have to go very far to get the signature. Karson Gonnerman, a senior at Centerville High School, is the initial member of the new IHCC program which will have fall and spring seasons, competing against other Iowa two-year schools and will be based on the Indian Hills Centerville campus.
Although enthused about the chance to continue his athletic career at the college level, Gonnerman said it wasn’t solely the brand new sports shooting program that attracted him to IHCC. “I chose to continue my education at Indian Hills because they have a great criminal justice program,” said the CHS senior. “I have already been taking classes at IHCC and am currently a reserve police officer for the city of Centerville. I believe the criminal justice program will prepare me to move on to a four-year school, and help me to achieve a career as a state trooper.”
Stalzer, an Albia native who was picked last fall to get the sports shooting program off the ground, thinks Gonnerman will be a major asset for the program. “He is one of CHS’s top shooters,” Stalzer explained, “and I give Elizabeth Logsdon and the entire CHS coaching staff credit for building a great program and teaching their athletes how to be successful in this great sport. Karson is a certified NRA/USA Junior Shotgun Trainer. I don’t have an assistant coach, so knowing he has been through that junior training program is huge. I know he will be willing to help out in any way possible and is very knowledgeable about the sport.”
Gonnerman wants to set the bar high for the sport at Indian Hills, saying, “I enjoy hunting in my free time and I’ve grown up around firearms. Shooting recreationally is just something I’ve done ever since I can remember and I enjoy competing for CHS. What I like is that anyone can improve in this sport no matter their level of athleticism.”
Pointing out that Gonnerman is a standout athlete in both football and soccer at Centerville High School, Stalzer is excited to have him be his first signee for sports shooting. “Karson is exactly the type of kid we want to recruit here to IHCC – a good student and good person,” the coach said. “Local and area high school shooters are going to be instrumental in having this sport be successful for us.”
With the CHS student-athlete helping to build the roster, Stalzer said recruiting, in general, is going well. “When I was first hired in the fall it was slow-going because the high school season is in the spring,” he stated. “After the first of the year it has picked up and I’ve been in contact with numerous high school coaches and have many local and area kids on my radar.”
The high school sports shooting season begins in a couple of weeks, and Stalzer vows to be at as many high school competitions as he can to see athletes shooting, and encouraging them to consider continuing at the collegiate level for Indian Hills. By next fall, he hopes to have recruited at least 20 athletes to be members of the sports shooting team at the college.
The Indian Hills sports shooting team will be participating in the shotgun discipline with American Trap as the main focus. IHCC will have a fall and spring season, and in addition to competing against other Iowa community colleges will also schedule competitions against a few four-year schools that have sports shooting programs.
Stalzer emphasizes that he would like to visit with any high school student who is a member of their school’s sports shooting team. He notes they can fill out a recruiting questionnaire on the Indian Hills athletics website. They can also contact the IHCC coach at Jacob.Stalzer@indianhills.edu or by calling 641-856-2143, ext. 2213.