In the battle of attrition that transpires in Ft. Benning, Ga., whenever the top men’s and women’s trap shooters gather, Matt Gossett (Springville, Ala.) proved more than worthy of his place atop the podium after leading from start to finish to close the 11-day USA Shooting Spring Selection Match.
The USA Spring Selection Match taking place on the site of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) began Friday, May 10 with competition in men’s and women’s skeet. By the time the 11-day competition had concluded 185 shotgun competitors would take part in the match that decided the teams for two upcoming World Cup competitions as well as the 30-person team that will compete at the 2013 World Clay Target Championships this September in Lima, Peru. See below for a full list of team members and the competitions they earned the right to participate in.
Gossett left the Olympic Training Center resident program last fall and enrolled at Auburn University, and given the results he showed this week, the move has paid off. Gossett jumped to a three-target lead on day one of a four-day exercise in mental, physical and emotional conditioning. After two days of competition, Gossett had missed just three combined targets of the 125 that he had been shown and had expanded his lead to seven. While he wouldn’t maintain that blistering pace, in the end Gossett had done enough in the beginning to still capture the Spring Selection match title with a Finals round of 24 to earn a three-target win over John Mullins (Port Orchard, Wash.).
“I’m very excited to win this week and make my first Open World Championship Team,” said Gossett. “It’s been a goal of mine ever since I was able to go as a junior.”
Mullins made a late charge after missing 12 of his first 125 targets and then would go on to miss just eight targets over his next 150 shots including the lone finalist to hit 25-straight. Mullins was also a past member of the Olympic Training Center Resident Program but departed after obtaining a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs in December.
“It feels great to be in this position once again,” Mullins said. “This is not an easy place to shoot and I couldn’t be happier with overcoming the adversity I had in the beginning and to come back fighting my way onto the podium.”
Placing third was Jake Wallace (Castiac, Calif.) while Seth Inman (Independence, Mo.) finished fourth. Corey Spruill (Saint Charles, Mo.) was the lone junior competitor to make the open final to finish fifth while capturing top spot in the junior division as well. Brian Burrows (Fallbrook, Calif.), who had previously won both the 2012 National Championships and 2012 Fall Selection Match and earned a silver medal at the year’s first World Cup, struggled on the final day to finish sixth. Burrows dropped 11 of the 75 targets thrown Monday after clawing his way into contention Sunday with the day’s top score of 72/75.
On the women’s side, Ashley Carroll (Solvang, Calif.) fought off two-time Olympian and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Corey Cogdell (Eagle River, Alaska) to earn her second straight Selection Match event title after winning the Fall Selection Match in Kerrville, Texas, last October. Carroll overtook Cogdell for first on Sunday and then matched the veteran’s scores over the last 75 targets to win by three. On Sunday, Carroll’s score of 70 along with two-time National Champion and eventual third-place finisher Rachael Heiden (Clinton, Mich.), 71, were the only two competitors of the 27 entrants to shoot above 66 out of 75 targets. Janessa Beaman (Colorado Springs, Colo.) finished fourth followed by junior competitors Miranda Wilder (Diana, Texas) and Kimberley Bowers (Lafayette, Calif.).