Following the USA Shooting (USAS) Team’s success in London, the Team has begun making preparations for the future and beyond. The new National Rifle and Pistol Teams are comprised of 16 talented shooters and will represent Team USA at World Cups throughout the 2013 season.
Athletes can earn a spot on the National Team through one of two ways: a top-3 finish at the USAS National Championships with a PSA or PSI score level or a coach appointment. This year’s National Championship was held in Fort Benning, Ga., in June, in conjunction with the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Smallbore.
USA Shooting’s Director of Operations and former National Rifle Coach Dave Johnson said, “Earning a spot on the National Team is a culmination of years of hard work, training and dedication. These athletes have advanced from the ranks of National Junior Team and National Development Team to the top tier-the National Team. They are the best in the U.S., and will be strong representatives at international competitions in the upcoming year and beyond.”
The National Rifle Team includes nine athletes-eight of which were members of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team, two Olympic medalists and three Olympic finalists. These athletes have won countless World Cup medals, World Championship titles, National Titles and more. Leading the team with their recent Olympic victories are Jamie Gray (Lebanon, Pa.) and Matt Emmons (Browns Mills, N.J.). Gray outshot the competition for the Women’s 50m Rifle Three Position Olympic gold. Nearly as impressive, Gray has shot in the final in every Olympic event she has entered. Emmons, former University of Alaska Fairbanks teammate with Gray, completed his medal set with a bronze in 2012 in Men’s 50m Rifle Three Position. Emmons is also a National Team member for Men’s 10m Air Rifle.
The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit lays claim to nearly half of the National Rifle Team with the addition of Olympians Sergeant First Class Eric Uptagrafft (Men’s 50m Rifle Prone/Phenix City, Ala.), Sergeant First Class Jason Parker (Men’s 50m Rifle Three Position/Omaha, Neb.) and Staff SergeantMichael McPhail (Men’s 50m Rifle Prone/Darlington, Wis.). They are joined by 2010 CAT Games Men’s 50m Rifle Three Position gold medalist Sergeant Joe Hein (Lansing, Mich.).
Collegiate shooters Sarah Scherer (Texas Christian University/Woburn, Mass.), Amanda Furrer (The Ohio State University/Spokane, Wash.) and Sarah Beard (Texas Christian University/Danville, Ind.) round out the National Rifle Team in Women’s 10m Air Rifle and Women’s 50m Rifle Three Position.
Just like the National Rifle Team, their pistol counterparts are replete with Olympic experience-every single member is an Olympian. “The depth in this year’s National Team is unprecedented,” said National Pistol Coach Sergey Luzov. “With the experience these athletes have gained over the last two years, we are going to be a force to contend with in the 2012-13 season.”
Veteran talent Sergeant First Class Daryl Szarenski (WCAP/Seale, Ala.) has four Olympic Games to his name, in addition to several World Cup and National Championship titles in both Men’s 10m Air Pistol and Men’s 50m Free Pistol. Joining him in the oldest shooting event-free pistol-is U.S. Olympic Training Center Resident Athlete Nick Mowrer (Butte, Mont.).
The Men’s 25m Rapid Fire athletes are Sergeant First Class Keith Sanderson (WCAP/Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Emil Milev (Temple Terrace, Fla.). Since 2009, Sanderson and Milev have amassed five World Cup medals and have adapted to the new finals format.
2008 Olympians Brian Beaman (Selby, S.D.) and Jason Turner (Colorado Springs, Colo.) are internationally competitive in both Men’s 10m Air Pistol and Men’s 50m Free Pistol. At the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Turner and Beaman finished third and fourth respectively in air pistol.
The lone female representative, Sandra Uptagrafft (Phenix City, Ala.) competes in both Women’s 25m Sport Pistol and Women’s 10m Air Pistol. Uptagrafft recently represented Team USA with her husband in London.
Image courtesy USA Shooting