Miranda Wilder (Diana, Texas) made history today in Lima, Peru, by becoming the first person, male or female, to win two Junior World Titles in the shotgun event of international bunker trap during their career. Since the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) began junior shotgun events in 1989, there’s been just eight two-time World Champions, but Wilder becomes the first to do so in Trap.
Wilder became the latest showcase of Team USA’s Junior Team strength in Lima at the 2013 ISSF World Clay Target Championships. Dania Vizzi (Odessa, Fla.) kicked-off the success tour with a silver medal in women’s skeet followed by a men’s team bronze from skeet shooters Phillip Jungman (Caldwell, Texas), Nick Boerboon (Prior Lake, Minn.) and Luis “Taz” Gloria (Tucson, Ariz.). Ian Rupert (Muncy, Pa.) was crowned Junior World Champion in Men’s Double Trap while the team of Rupert, Billy Crawford (Johnstown, Ohio) and Christian Wilkoski (Centerburg, Ohio) finished first as well.
Top junior performances at the World Championships have been a staple of the U.S. Team. Since 2010, U.S. junior teams competing at World Championships have been supported with the generous donations of the Dallas Safari Club (DSC). The DSC has provided USA Shooting with grant support for international competitions, generally to support our junior teams to World Championships (with the exception of 2012 where the grant monies went to the pre-Olympic training camp). This year, DSC approved a grant of $30,000 to support USA Shooting’s Junior Shotgun Team in Peru. The additional support has paid off with junior team athletes accounting for 10 individual and 10 team medals during that time along with 24 top-10 finishes.
In an event typically not known for separation among competitors, Wilder’s performance Monday was all the more impressive with a relatively easy five-target victory. She was the only competitor to shoot 22 or higher on each of the three contested rounds. Having won two Junior titles in three years, Wilder is showcasing dominance that puts her in esteem company as only the third American ever to win two Junior World Titles in shotgun joining Adam Curtis, a two-time winner in men’s double trap and Emily Blount, a two-time winner in women’s skeet. The U.S. has had the last three individual World Champions in the event with Janessa Beaman (Colorado Springs, Colo.) having earned the title in 2011.
Wilder helped power the U.S. Women’s Junior Team to a bronze medal in addition to championship run. She teamed with Kimberley Bowers (Lafayette, Calif.) and Amber Culwell (Rosebud, Ark.). Bowers was impressive as well climbing into the top-six with a score of 63/75. She was in position for a fourth-place finish after tying with two others, but slipped to sixth in the three-person shoot-off. Culwell struggled to a final score 44 in her first World Championships appearance.
Upon departing for Lima, Rachael Heiden (Clinton, Mich.) said that she was in the best place, both mentally and personally, as she had been in quite some time. Her results today proved that her mood wasn’t just lip speak. She got engaged on Saturday, August 31 and all is right in her world. She entered the final having shot a 69 to find herself one target out after qualifying. She would finish tied for second after the semifinal round of 15 that forced a three-way shootoff. She was moved to the bronze-medal match to face two-time Olympian Elena Tkach of Russia after missing her first target in the shoot-off. In the bronze medal match, Heiden was tied with Tkach going into the final shot but a lost final target would end her day without a medal.
Two-time Olympian and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Corey Cogdell (Eagle River, Alaska) was the leader after the first round only to falter on the day with back-to-back 21s to finish three targets back in 19th place.
On Twitter, Cogdell (@CoreyCogdell) had this to say: “True champions grow from disappointment. There’s no other choice if you choose this path, or you will fail. I’ve grown from today and will move on.”
Ashley Carroll (Solvang, Calif.) was in position to challenge for a medal before a final-round 19 would move her to a 65 final score for 23rd place.
One round of trap was fired on the men’s side Monday, with the final two rounds and the finals set to conclude the World Championships on Tuesday. Firing 71/75, John Mullins (Port Orchard, Wash.) and Jake Wallace (Castiac, Calif.) stand in contention for medals, just two targets out after three rounds. Matt Gossett (Springville, Ala.) has struggled through the first three rounds and sits in 64th place with a 63/75. On the Junior side, Brad Beckmann (Chesterfield, Mo.) is the top American in fourth with a 68, just two targets off the pace. A 60 for Austin Odom (Benton, Ark.) and a 59 for Corey Spruill (St. Charles, Mo.) have left them well back, as they’ll look to end their World Championship experience on a positive note.
Image courtesy USA Shooting