Justin Tracy didn’t even wear his good shirt – nothing was supposed to happen today.The 37-year-old from Farmington, N.Y. didn’t start competitive shooting until well after his college years and only had minimal military experience as a part-time member of the New York Air Guard.
Yet the relative newcomer to the sport beat a field of competitors dotted with Olympians and World Cup medalists to find himself atop the podium with a National Champion title in the Men’s Prone Rifle event at the USA Shooting National Championships for Rifle & Pistol. Tracy has a two-day aggregate score of 1256.9 points and has earned himself a spot on the National Team as well.
“I was one of the few shooters in yesterday’s final that was in today’s final so that gave me a real advantage and I just ran with it!” said Tracy. “Before Spain I’m going to need to definitely work on shooting under pressure- I saw some weak points I had, getting a shaky trigger finger with nerves, so I’ll need to work on things like that!”
Rounding out the podium in second place is four-time Olympian and U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) shooter Jason Parker (Omaha, Neb.) with a score of 1253.5. Parker took gold in the Men’s Three-Position Rifle event earlier this week. In third is National Junior Team member Daniel Lowe (Olympia, Wash.) with 1251.3 points.
Today three new National Champions were also crowned in addition to Tracy’s title in Men’s and Women’s Air Pistol and Women’s Prone Rifle.
In the Junior Men’s Prone event, Kevin Sui (West Covina, Calif.) took gold with 1246 points. In second place is David Higgins (San Clemente, Calif.) with 1244.7 points and in third is National Junior Team member Elijah Ellis (Kingsport, Tenn.) with 1243.1. Sui and Higgins will be promoted to the National Junior Team for their finishes at this National Championships.
On the Women’s Prone Rifle side, National Team member Sarah Beard (Danville, Ind.) took home her second medal of the week with a first-place finish of 1248 points. On Tuesday, Beard placed third in Women’s Air Rifle. In second place is Reya Kempley (Farmington, N.Y.) with 1243.5 points and in third is National Junior Team member Deanna Binnie (Holsopple, Pa.) with 1243. Though no final was conducted in this event, Binnie was also declared the Junior Champion.
In Women’s Air Pistol, Sandra Uptagrafft (Phenix City, Ala.) continued her dominance from Day 1 claiming the highest scores in qualification both days and winning both finals for a two-day aggregate score of 774 points.
But a new name to notice on the Women’s Air Pistol scene may be National Junior Team member Lydia Paterson (Kansas City, Kan.) The J2 athlete is just 16-years-old and claimed the silver medal in this event with a two-day aggregate score of 760. National Development Team athlete Teresa Meyer Chambers (Dearborn, Mich.) earned a promotion to the National Team with her third-place score of 758 points.
On the Junior side, Paterson was also named Junior Champion. In second and third place are her National Development Team teammates Darian Shenk (Annville, Pa.) who took second with 747 points and Alana Townsend (Kalispell, Mont.) who took third with 739 points.
In a very hotly-contested Men’s Air Pistol competition, three-time Olympian Jason Turner (Rochester, N.Y.) broke through the three-way tie for first after yesterday’s results to claim the gold in this event with a two-day aggregate score of 1168. In second place is National Team member and recent World Cup USA gold medalist Will Brown (Twin Falls, Idaho) just one-point behind him with 1167. In third is Jay Shi (Phoenix, Ariz.) just one-point behind Brown with 1166 points. Shi was named to the USA Shooting National Team and he along with his fellow Open division medalists in Men’s Air Pistol, Prone Rifle and Women’s Air Pistol will compete at the upcoming World Cup in Granada, Spain in July.
Junior Men’s Air Pistol was swept by members of the Junior National Team. Alex Chichkov (Temple Terrace, Fla.) took gold with 1145 points. In second place is Will Brown’s brother, Wyatt (Twin Falls, Idaho) with 1120 points and in taking third in a shoot-off is Benjamin Albers (Baldwyn, Miss.) with 1113 points.
The final scores in Men’s and Women’s Air Rile and Men’s Prone Rifle are a combined total of points including qualification scores from yesterday, today and additional points awarded for placing in each day’s final (Eight additional points awarded for first, seven points for second, six points for third and so on for all finals positions) as laid out under USA Shooting’s new National Championship and World Cup team selection procedures for this event. For more information on this amendment, please click here: http://bit.ly/18P2ebn.
Men’s Rapid Fire Pistol action kicked off today with four-time Olympian Emil Milev (Temple Terrace, Fla.) leading after Day 1 with an aggregate score of 594. In second place is USAMU shooter and Center Fire National Champion Brad Balsley (Phenix City, Ala.) with 587 points and in third is two-time Olympian Keith Sanderson (Colorado Springs, Colo.) with 584 points.
New members to the National and Developmental Paralympic teams were welcomed at events yesterday and today with eight new athletes being named to the Paralympic Development Team and one new athlete named to the Paralympic National Team. New Paralympic Development Team members are Jazmin Almlie (Houston, Texas), Nick Beach, McKenna Dahl (Arlington, Wash.), Tammy Delano (Rome, N.Y.), Kerry Morris (Grand Prairie, Texas), Mike Tagliapietra (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Shaun Tichenor and Eric Trueblood . Named to the National Paralympic Team is John Joss (Fort Michael, Ala.).
Competition in rifle now moves to Men’s Air and Women’s Three-Position over the next two days while Men’s Rapid Fire Pistol Fire concludes on Friday. The field is stacked with plenty of talent as six of the eight event finalists from last year’s Nationals are participating. The entrants include 2012 National Champion Bryant Wallizer (Little Orleans, Md.), 2012 Olympian and Nationals runner-up Jonathan Hall (Carrollton, Ga.), 2012 Nationals bronze medalist Thomas Csenge (Colorado Springs, Colo.) as well as recent World Cup silver medalist
Dempster Christenson (Sioux Falls, S.D.). Also, keep a close eye on 2013 Junior Olympic Champion Connor Davis (Shelbyville, Ga.) who has shown a hot-hand throughout the collegiate rifle season as a freshman competitor at Kentucky and in several matches national and World Cup matches to begin 2013.
Absent the event’s top-two finishers from a year ago, the Women’s Three-Position rifle event looks to be a wide-open race but look to those sharp shooters who’ve already established themselves throughout the week including Air champion Sarah Scherer (Woburn, Mass.), Prone champion Beard and returning National Team member Amy Sowash (Richmond, Ky.). Binnie earned the 2013 Junior Olympic title recently and will try to overcome the depth and experience ahead of her in earning a podium spot.
The final matches on the Nationals docket includes two pistol events – Women’s Sport and Men’s 50m Free – along with the prone air rifle event featuring Paralympic competitors. Those events will be contested Saturday and Sunday to conclude the 2013 USA Shooting National Championships for Rifle/Pistol.
Logo courtesy USA Shooting