Though they find themselves in the Spring break mecca of Acapulco, Mexico, USA Shooting athletes have showcased a business-like approach during their visit to date, with three top-six finishes in the season-opening International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup. Headlining this early success is Men’s Trap shooter Brian Burrows (Fallbrook, Calif.) who earned his first career World Cup medal earlier today with second-place finish.
Today’s result cements Burrows’ rise to the head of the class in U.S. men’s trap shooting as he’s now earned a World Cup silver medal, a National Title and Fall Selection Match gold the last three times he’s stepped to the firing line. Burrows’ 122/125 qualifying score put him a three-way tie atop the leaderboard.
Over 160 athletes from 27 countries are in Acapulco getting the shooting calendar underway and to ultimately determine who can stand out under the new rules.
Sunday’s opener brought respectable fifth and sixth place finishes for Burrows’ trap teammates Miranda Wilder (Diana, Texas) and Rachael Heiden (Clinton, Mich.). Ashley Carroll (Solvang, Calif.) finished 10th to earn her first top-10 performance in just her second World Cup appearance.
Wilder and Heiden made it to the semifinal with 73 and 69 hits but were unable to advance in the 15-shot semifinal, hitting 11 and nine targets, respectively. Wilder, a four-time National Junior Olympic champion, has finished runner-up at the past two USA Shooting National Championships and was the 2010 Junior World Champion. Heiden, meanwhile, has won two of the last three national titles in her event.
But for the U.S. Men’s Trap Team as a whole, World Cup results like Burrows’ perhaps signals the coming of age for the U.S. men’s trap program after not qualifying anyone to compete at the 2012 Olympic Games. But in the past four World Cups, the U.S. has netted gold and silver along with an eighth-place finish. Ryan Hadden (Pendleton, Ore.) won the Tucson World Cup in March 2012 while Jacob Turner (Richland, Wash.) finished eighth in the 2012 London World Cup.
Burrows shooting mates in Mexico included Collin Wietfeldt (Hemlock, Mich.) and Dakotah Richardson (Godley, Texas). Wietfeldt would finish 29th with a score of 112/125. Richardson meanwhile would suffer without the use of his trusty Beretta, the result of an unfortunate customs incident, and would borrow two different guns from competitors during the event. Like a golfer playing with someone else’s clubs, Richardson’s scores would reflect his bad luck, shooting a 101 over the five rounds.
Burrows would succumb to Italian Valerio Grazini in the final with another Italian shooter, Massimo Fabbrizi, finishing third.
The new ISSF rule changes have brought about the most extensive set of modifications in the sports history while implementing a completely new Finals format. After the qualification rounds, which are conducted under the old rules, the top-six shooters advance to a semifinal-a new competition stage. The qualification score is not carried forward as all the semifinalists start from zero.
The six semifinalists compete on a reduced number of stations with 15 targets with the top two advancing to the gold medal match. On the other side, the third and fourth ranked semifinalists enter the bronze medal match.
Acapulco is kicking off the first of four ISSF Shotgun World Cups for 2013. The second World Cup of the season will require travel over to the United Arab Emirates, April 16-25. Each of the season’s first two World Cups features one of the top-two finishers from the Fall Selection Match plus one of the top-two finishers from the junior division in that competition.
Russia’s Liudmila Pshenichnikov won the Women’s Trap event. The 40-year-old shooter outdueled the 2012 Olympic Champion Jessica Rossi of Italy in the gold-medal match by 12 hits to 9. Pshenichnikov had never won an ISSF medal before Sunday.
The Acapulco World Cup takes a day off for training on Tuesday with the Double Trap competitors waiting to get underway Wednesday. The U.S. team features Billy Crawford (Johnstown, Ohio) who won both the National Championships and Fall Selection Match to earn his invitation to Acapulco. The 19-year-old Crawford beat out three Olympians including Josh Richmond (Hillsgrove, Pa.), Glenn Eller (Katy, Texas) and Jeff Holguin (Yorba Linda, Calif.) in Colorado last summer. Joining Crawford are Ian Rupert (Muncy, Pa.) and Kelcey DePatis (Donovan, Ill.). Men’s and Women’s Skeet will follow March 22-23 with two-time Olympic gold medalist Vincent Hancock (Eatonton, Ga.) set to make his 2013 season debut.
Double Trap (March 20)
Billy Crawford (Johnstown, Ohio)
Ian Rupert (Muncy, Pa.)
Kelcey DePatis (Donovan, Ill.)
Skeet (Men, March 22-23; Women, March 22)
Vincent Hancock (Eatonton, Ga.)
Jon Michael McGrath (Tulsa, Okla.)
Haley Dunn (Muenster, Texas)
Jaiden Grinnell (Port Angeles, Wash.)
Image courtesy USA Shooting