Dexter's Whitley Fowler signs with Olivet College to compete as a trapshooting specialist


Whitley Fowler on signing day with her Dexter Trap Team coaches and her future coach at Olivet College. photo by Lonnie Huhman

Surrounded by her family, friends, coaches and others from the Dexter community, Whitley Fowler made it official and signed with Olivet College, where she will continue to compete in the sport that she loves while also taking advantage of the opportunity to learn at a great school.

Fowler, a senior at Dexter High School, is looking forward to next fall when she will be part of Olivet College’s trapshooting team as a trap specialist. On hand inside DHS for the signing on Jan. 11, was Matthew Gay, the head outdoor recreation/clay target coach at Olivet College.

Gay said Fowler will have a scholarship and is planning to pursue a degree in criminal justice and/or psychology.

“We are happy to have her,” he said.

Fowler has been part of the Dexter Trap Team (DTT), which is a youth shooting program that competes in the USA High School Clay Target League. DTT was established in 2016 and is comprised of Dexter Community School students in grades 6-12. The team is hosted by the Moose Lodge 1253 Sportsman’s league and its main goal is to promote gun safety, fun, and skills in a lifelong sport of trap shooting.

Trapshooting is a form of clay target shooting.

Her signing is a big moment for her and the trap team.

Of the signing, Fowler said, “I am very excited about continuing trap shooting as well as my education at Olivet. Not all colleges or universities have trap shooting as a sport. Another reason I’m excited about signing is that this is a new experience for me. Plus you don’t hear a lot about female athletes signing let alone a female trap shooter.”

In picking Olivet, she said she went on a few college tours in state and out of state, but none of them compared to how she felt when she went to Olivet.

“I picked Olivet for many reasons, I liked the teacher-to-student ratio and it had the area of study that I was interested in,” she said. “I knew they had a trap team, which when I started looking at schools is what I was wanting to keep participating in. On the other hand, it wasn’t too far from home, but in the same breath far enough.”

A big part in this decision is her love for trapshooting.

In explaining this, she said “I love how it is both an individual sport and a team sport all in one. You can focus on yourself and support your teammates all at once. The competition between you and your peers is the best,” while adding in, “The community of people when you go to states and nationals, the camaraderie of the parents and the students.”

In addition to being on the trap team for nearly five years now, she’s also on the water polo and power lifting teams at DHS.

Some other interesting things about Fowler include she was a Girl Scout for 10 years; she’s been active in her church youth group doing mission work, such as rebuilding roofs on houses in Memphis, Tennessee and this spring she will be going on another mission trip this year to Belize. She’s also a fourth generation member of the Dexter United Methodist Church on her grandmother’s side as well as a sixth generation member from her grandfather’s side. She will be the fifth generation in her family to graduate from Dexter High School, and she loves to go out hunting with her grandfather and uncle, and in between all of that she’s been a lifeguard for Dexter Community Ed, as well as an employee for the aftercare and summer camp programs.

With all of this, there’s no doubt she’s had some help and support along the way. She said there are some important people in her life she wants to say thank you to.

“There have been lots of people that have helped and supported me along the way starting with my trap coach Bill Hoffman; not to mention two amazing members of the Moose--- Pete Brown helped me from the beginning, and Jim Kralik has made us laugh and been our amazing photographer for every special event we have had. These two men have been like family to me and many others on the team,” she said. “The list of people in my family who have been there is long; my grandmother for taking me to trap and bringing all my supplies, and my uncle and aunt for making sure I have everything I need to succeed in this sport. My mom for being my Number 1 fan and all. My grandfather asked how I did every time I walked in from shooting. The last person from my family was my cousin Jimmy Whitley for always shooting with me at the beginning and for getting me hooked on this sport. Not to mention the endless list of friends who have always been excited even if they didn’t have a clue about the sport.”

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