Brian Beaman (Selby, S.D.) ensured he saved the best for last in recording the second highest Men’s 10m Air Pistol score on record to highlight the third and final day of the 2012 Winter Airgun Championships in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The Winter Airgun Championships featured over 225 competitors including seven Olympians and a total of 34 shooters representing USA Shooting’s National, Junior and Development Teams competing over three days in Airgun events including Men’s/Women’s Air Rifle and Air Pistol.
Beaman, a 2008 Olympian who finished fourth in Beijing, earned the nation’s second best score ever in the Air Pistol event after recording a 589 qualifying score and a 100.7 final to finish with an overall score of 689.7. Owning the top mark is four-time Olympian Daryl Szarenski (WCAP/Seale, Ala.) who shot a new national record (with finals) of 691.8 total points in helping secure his 2012 Olympic nomination during the first part of 2012 Olympic Trials for Airgun, December 3, 2011. The third highest score is held by Jason Turner (Rochester, N.Y.) with 688.8.
Beaman’s score is especially notable when you compare it to scores at the 2012 Olympic Games as gold medalist Jongoh Jin of South Korea finished with a 688.2.
Beaman would finish 11.3 points ahead of second-place finisher Will Brown (Twin Falls, Idaho) while 2012 Olympian Nick Mowrer (Butte, Mont.) finished third. Overall, Beaman earned the top podium spot two out of the three days, with Brown earning a victory on day one.
In Women’s Air Pistol, National Development Team member Courtney Anthony (Lexington, Neb.) came up with her second straight victory and earned the top aggregate score (all three qualifying scores w/ no finals included) on the weekend. Junior competitor Lydia Paterson (Kansas City, Kan.) finished off an impressive showing with a second-place finish. Paterson had two podium finishes in the open event to go along with a pair of wins and a second-place finish in the junior division. Teresa Meyer (Dearborn, Mich.) finished first, fourth and third in her three shoots and earned the matches top score overall with a 477.2 in her day one victory.
The Men’s and Women’s Air Rifle was extremely competitive throughout the weekend with three collegiate standouts earning high marks along with another Mount Rushmore state representative.
In Men’s Air Rifle, Kentucky freshman Connor Davis (Shelbyville, Ky.), would stand atop the podium on two of the three days but would lose out to Dempster Christianson (Sioux Falls, S.D.) for top aggregate score. Christianson, a National Development Team member, finished on the podium all three days including a second and two third-place finishes. Davis also showcased his shooting prowess in the junior ranks with one win and two second-place finishes. Air Force Falcon Rifle Team member Tyler Rico (Tucson, Ariz.) would come away with the weekend’s top score among all competitors in his junior competition Sunday, finishing in first with a 698.2.
“Overall, it was a good trip,” said Davis. “I learned a lot about myself as a competitor and being able to deal with close finals and high-pressure situations. I was really excited on the final day when we had four Wildcats in the finals together, that was great. I really owe it to my coaches Harry Mullins and Amy Sowash and also all of my teammates.”
If this weekend was any indication, the forthcoming conclusion to the NCAA Rifle Season will be truly memorable with the likes of Davis and Rico shooting alongside female sharpshooters Petra Zubasling of West Virginia and TCU’s Sarah Scherer (Woburn, Mass.). The 2012 Olympians Zubasling and Scherer went toe-to-toe in their three-day battle with the 2012 Italian Olympian Zubasling gaining the edge this weekend with two top finishes. Both set to do battle in the final Sunday after posting 399/400 scores in qualifying, fans wouldn’t get the opportunity to see how it unfolded after both had early afternoon flights they had to depart for. That left the door open for 16-year-old Elizabeth Gratz (Sigel, Ill.), who stepped through in a big way earning the first-place finish. Competing against a much more experienced lineup, Gratz held her own and then some having stepped foot on each spot on the podium during her three days of shooting.
Image courtesy USA Shooting