By David McCoy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Holy Angels Clay Target Trapshooting Team is currently leading the conference in the spring season.

But the more interesting story is their top male shooter. He’s one of the school’s international students and, apparently, a very quick learner.

“Different than video games,” he said with a big grin.

Let’s get this out of the way right away: He’s not a ringer. Holy Angels did not bring in an ace shooter from China to help boost its scores in the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League. But he’s so good, that’s what everyone seems to think.

Who is this mystery kid?

“My Chinese name is Zijun Zhang,” he said.

But around here, everybody calls him Vector.

“He currently is in the top 100 in the state,” Holy Angels trapshooting coach Bob Brotzel said. “There are 10,361 athletes in the spring clay target league.”

That makes Vector your classic one-percenter.

“So he’s doing very well,” Brotzel said.

The truth — and what makes this so incredible — is that Vector joined the team only a year ago.

“It’s just something I wanted to try,” he said. “You can’t really own guns in China.”

He came here from China three years ago to go to high school because it helps to be ready for American college. His host father took him to the range for the first time, only two years ago. It was the first time he’d ever touched a gun, much less shot one.

“First time touch one, first time shoot one,” he said. “Pretty nervous at the time. My hand was shaking.”

He’s quite a bit steadier now. On this day, for example, with our camera on him, he hit all 25 targets in a row.

How’d he get so good, so fast?

“I have no idea,” he said with a smile.

But his coach does.

“Vector is focused, I guess that’s the key thing,” Brotzel said. “He’s self-driven. So you see those qualities in him every time he comes out. And he’s consistent. And in trap, that’s really important.”

David McCoy

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