Colorado Springs, Colo. Sept. 20, 2011–With eight medals, two world records and a third-place overall finish, the USA Shooting Team is returning from the World Clay Target Championships in Serbia with plenty of optimism about the Olympics of 2012–and beyond.
Olympic veterans Sgt. Glenn Eller and Kim Rhode both earned bronze medals. Rhode, already qualified for next year’s London Games, once again established herself as a top contender.
But a special bright spot in Serbia was the performance of America’s junior shooters (20 and under). The junior team, which attended the competition thanks to sponsorship from the Dallas Safari Club (DSC), earned six of America’s eight total medals. And it was juniors who set both of the new world records.
“This event is unique in that juniors are afforded the opportunity to compete on an international stage against the best junior shooters in the world. It is invaluable experience. And with a six-medal performance, I’d say our future is in good hands,” said National Shotgun Coach Bret Erickson. He added, “Our strong junior presence would not have been possible without funding from DSC. We’re grateful for this support because, without it, many of our juniors would not have been able to attend or represent the United States.”
Junior shooters showed appreciation by competing with DSC logos on team shirts and caps.
Highlights from Serbia:
Junior Men’s Double Trap
The American team, Billy Crawford (Johnstown, Ohio), Private First Class Derek Haldeman (Sunbury, Ohio) and Ian Rupert (Muncy, Pa.) smashed a world record that had stood since 1998. The American’s total of 428 was 13 targets better than the old mark. Crawford also set a new junior world record with 147 out of 150 targets.
Men’s Double Trap
Eller (Katy, Texas), the 2008 Olympic gold medalist, showed tenacity as he charged through 36 shoot-off targets to advance to the final. He then attacked the final with 45 out of 50 targets to find himself in another shoot-off, this time for the bronze. Eller silenced Vitaly Forkeev of Russia after only four targets to earn a place on the medal stand.
Four-time Olympic medalist Kim Rhode (El Monte, Calif.) shot 72 match targets to tie four other shooters for only three spots in the final. It took Rhode just four targets in a shoot-off to earn her spot in the finals. In a final-round shoot-off against China’s Wei Ning, Rhode hit seven targets to Ning’s eight and captured the bronze.
Junior Women’s Skeet
Morgan Craft (Hughesville, Pa.) fired 68 out of 75 match targets to tie with Lucie Anastassiou of France, with a silver medal at stake. In a shoot-off, Craft shot one target to Anastassiou’s two, giving the U.S. shooter the bronze. The team, which also included Brandy Drozd (Bryan, Texas) and Riley Moody (Collinsville, Okla.), won the team bronze medal.
Junior Women’s Trap
Delivering the performance of her career was Janessa Beaman (Elbert, Colo.), who earned the title of Junior Women’s Trap Champion. Beaman finished with 70 out 75 targets for an uncontested gold medal and a new personal best. Teammates Miranda Wilder (Diana, Texas) finished in fifth place and Ashley Carroll (Solvang, Calif.) in tenth, securing a team gold medal.
Overall, the U.S. finished third in the medal standings behind Russia and China with eight total medals.
Members of the USA Shooting Team are returning home to prepare for the first leg of the U.S. Olympic trials for shotgun beginning Sept. 22 in Kerrville, Texas.
Winchester® Ammunition is a proud sponsor of the USA Shooting Shotgun Team and its exclusive ammunition sponsor and supplier since 1999.
About USA Shooting:
USA Shooting, a 501c3 non-profit corporation, was chartered by the United States Olympic Committee as the National Governing Body for the sport of shooting in April 1995. USA Shooting’s mission is to prepare American athletes to win Olympic medals, promote the shooting sports throughout the U.S. and govern the conduct of international shooting in the country. Check us out on the web at www.usashooting.org and on Twitter at twitter.com/USAShooting.
About Dallas Safari Club (DSC)
Desert bighorns on an unbroken landscape, stalking Cape buffalo in heavy brush, students discovering conservation. DSC works to guarantee a future for all these and much more. An independent organization since 1982, DSC has become an international leader in conserving wildlife and wilderness lands, educating youth and the general public, and promoting and protecting the rights and interests of hunters worldwide. Get involved at www.biggame.org.