You know what time of year it is – the weather is warming up, the bags are packed and it’s off to Fort Benning, Ga. – time to kick off the USA Shooting National Championships for Rifle and Pistol.
From June 3-9, more than 500 competitors will vie for national titles across the rifle and pistol disciplines at the home of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) in Fort Benning. While some notable national champions will not be defending their titles – such as 2012 Olympians Amanda Furrer (Spokane, Wash.) or Jamie Gray (Lebanon, Pa.) – this year’s National Championships will definitely welcome a new wave of talented athletes looking to claim those titles. One such competitor is Will Brown (Twin Falls, Idaho), who finished third in 10m Air Pistol at last year’s National Championship and has proven he’s becoming a pistol powerhouse with a gold-medal finish in 10m Air at World Cup USA and a seventh-place finish in his 50m Free Pistol final debut at the recent World Cup in Munich.
Sibling rivalry will be taken to a new level next week when Brown competes against his brother, Wyatt, the recent National Junior Olympic Champion in 10m Air Pistol.
2012 Olympians Jason Turner (Rochester, N.Y.) and Keith Sanderson (Colorado Springs, Colo.) will be returning to defend their titles in Men’s 10m Air and 25m Rapid Fire Pistol. Sanderson finished fifth in this event at World Cup USA in Fort Benning just two weeks ago.
Dempster Christenson (Sioux Falls, S.D.), who claimed a silver medal in 10m Air Rifle at the recent World Cup USA, will also be competing in the Three-Position and Prone Rifle events at this year’s Nationals. Returning from the World Cup in Munich, NJOSC gold medalists and National Junior Rifle Team members Ryan Anderson (Fairbanks, Alaska) and Connor Davis (Shelbyville, Ky.) look to challenge their National Junior Rifle Team and World Cup Munich teammate Garrett Spurgeon (Canton, Mo.) for his titles in the Junior 10m Air and Three-Position Rifle events.
2012 Olympian and Prone National Champion Michael McPhail (Darlington, Wis.)placed seventh in Prone at World Cup USA and won silver at the World Cup in Changwon, Korea. He will be back at Nationals with Olympic and USAMU teammate Eric Uptagrafft (Phenix City, Ala.) to compete in this event.
On the women’s side, last year’s Junior 10m Air Rifle National Champion Kelsey Emme
(Rapid City, S.D.) hopes to keep her title as she returns fresh off a 13th-place finish in her first career World Cup match in Munich. Emme competed against 126 other air rifle competitors and was just 1.2 points away from making finals.
Looking to better their 2012 National Championship performances will be National Rifle Team members Emily Holsopple (Wilcox, Pa.), Sarah Beard (Danville, Ind.) and Amy Sowash (Richmond, Ky.). 2012 Olympian Sarah Scherer (Woburn, Mass.) looks to repeat as National Champion in 10m Air Rifle.
2012 Olympian Sandra Uptagrafft (Phenix City, Ala.) and Teresa Chambers (Dearborn, Mich.), who finished first and second respectively in the 25m Sport and 10m Air Pistol events, will once again be challenging each other for the top spots in each of these categories.
There is added emphasis on this year’s National Championships as it will also serve as a World Cup selection match with the top-three finishers in each Olympic event open class earning a berth in the upcoming World Cup in Granada, Spain in July .
The National Championships also determine the National and National Junior Team members for the year with medalists in the Olympic event open classes earning spots on the National Team and the top-two juniors in each Olympic event earning spots on the National Junior Team.
Event recaps for each event will be posted following competition.
Logo courtesy USA Shooting