Colorado Springs, Colo. Sept. 1, 2011–It’s go-time for young skeet, trap and double-trap shooters hoping to win a spot in the Olympics of 2012–and beyond.

The USA Shooting Junior Team (20 and under) is headed to the World Clay Target Championship in Belgrade, Serbia, Sept. 3-14, supported by a grant from Dallas Safari Club (DSC).

The DSC grant, given to the USA Shooting Team Foundation, is helping 14 junior shooters (names and hometowns below) accompany the USA Shooting National Team to the elite competition. Goals include qualifying for the Olympics, gaining vital international experience and honorably representing the U.S.

“Our junior team is determined to keep its strong momentum going,” said USA Shooting Team Foundation Executive Director Buddy DuVall. “Last year, they returned from the World Shooting Championships in Munich with seven individual medals and seven team medals. DSC was a big part of that success and we’re honored that the club is helping our youngest athletes realize another opportunity to excel on a world stage.”

DuVall said junior shooters will again show appreciation by competing with DSC logos on team shirts and caps.

DSC Executive Director Ben Carter said, “We’re so proud to help these young athletes make their mark for our country–as well as for our sporting way of life. Many members of the USA Shooting Team come from a hunting and wildlife conservation background, and they’re true ambassadors for our community both at home and abroad.”

The partnership between DSC and USA Shooting has been building for several years. DSC sponsorships are reciprocated by shooting team members assisting with DSC conventions, youth education events, public exhibits and more.

Athletes to Watch

  • Caitlin Connor, Jaiden Grinnell, Rachael Heiden, Jon Michael McGrath and Collin Wietfeldt, though technically still juniors, will compete in the open category where they will have the opportunity to earn points toward Olympic qualification.
  • Heiden won bronze in the junior competition last year. This year, she has two World Cup medals and is currently the top-ranked women’s trap shooter in the world. If she medals in Belgrade, she will earn a 2012 U.S. Olympic nomination.
  • McGrath is a reigning junior world champion and won World Cup gold earlier this year in men’s skeet.
  • Grinnell won silver in the junior competition last year. This year, she won a World Cup medal and is currently ranked in the Top 10 in the world along with open teammates Connor and Kim Rhode in women’s skeet.
  • Miranda Wilder won a junior women’s trap gold medal at the World Championships last year and earned a spot on the national team with a silver medal finish at the 2010 USAS National Championships for shotgun.
  • USA Shooting National Team members Rhode and Staff Sergeant Josh Richmond have already earned 2012 Olympic nominations (pending approval by the U.S. Olympic Committee). Richmond will deploy for Afghanistan following the event. Rhode is chasing Olympic history as she aims for five individual medals in five consecutive Olympiads.

World Shotgun Championships Team Roster

(*USA Shooting Junior Team member sponsored by DSC)

Men’s Trap

Ryan Hadden (Pendleton, Ore.)

Lance Bade (Vancouver, Wash.)

Collin Wietfeldt (Hemlock, Mich.)

Junior Men’s Trap

Garrett Walters (Burr Oak, Mich.)*

T.J. Bayer (College Station, Texas)*

Dustin Anderson (Woodstock, Ga.)*

Women’s Trap

Rachael Heiden (Clinton, Mich.)

Corey Cogdell (Eagle River, Alaska)

Caitlin Weinheimer (Kerrville, Texas)

Junior Women’s Trap

Miranda Wilder (Diana, Texas)*

Ashley Carroll (Solvang, Calif.)*

Janessa Beaman (Elbert, Colo.)*

Men’s Double Trap

Josh Richmond (Hillsgrove, Pa.)

Jeff Holguin (Yorba Linda, Calif.)

Glenn Eller (Katy, Texas)

Junior Men’s Double Trap

Derek Haldeman (Sunbury, Ohio)*

Billy Crawford (Johnstown, Ohio)*

Ian Rupert (Muncy, Pa.)*

Men’s Skeet

Vincent Hancock (Eatonton, Ga.)

Jon Michael McGrath (Tulsa, Okla.)

Frank Thompson (Alliance, Neb.)

Junior Men’s Skeet

T.J. Bayer (College Station, Texas)*

Phillip Jungman (Caldwell, Texas)*

Dustin Perry (Crockett, Texas)*

Women’s Skeet

Kim Rhode (El Monte, Calif.)

Caitlin Connor (Winnfield, La.)

Jaiden Grinnell (Port Angeles, Wash.)

Junior Women’s Skeet

Brandy Drozd (Bryan, Texas)*

Morgan Craft (Hughesville, Pa.)*

Riley Moody (Collinsville, Okla.)*

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.

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