Whether you’re climbing that ladder or you’ve already grasped that top rung, proving yourself an Olympic-caliber shooter isn’t for the weak, timid or uninterested. Success in this sport can be fleeting with so much to prove so often and with the margin for error so minimal. The latest barometer check is upon us with the start of the USA Shooting’s Fall Selection Match for Shotgun set to begin Saturday, October 5, at USA Shooting’s Certified Training Center in Tucson, Ariz., the Tucson Trap and Skeet Club.
In this game, relevance is only as good as your last match. The stakes are high for this event with 2014 World Cup selection and World Championships qualifying status on the line. Top finishers will earn the right to earn a return trip to Tucson where they’ll compete for Team USA during the 2014 Tucson World Cup, April 8-15.
All four recent World Clay Target Championship medalists will be participating including World Champion and four-time Olympian Glenn Eller (Houston, Texas), Junior World Champions Miranda Wilder (Diana, Texas) and Ian Rupert (Muncy, Pa.) and Junior World Championship silver medalist Dania Vizzi (Odessa, Fla.). More than 205 participants have registered to compete.
Twelve U.S. Trap shooters were the last to get off the stage in Lima, Peru, and they’ll be first to step into the desert heat in Tucson. On the women’s side, Ashley Carroll (Solvang, Calif.) and Rachael Heiden (Clinton, Mich.) have owned the top of the podium in recent matches with Carroll having won the past two selection matches and Heiden following with back-to-back National titles. Heiden returns from Lima falling just short of a podium spot as she finished fourth overall. Two-time Olympian and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Corey Cogdell (Eagle River, Alaska) has been in the hunt for all four titles and is eager to claim her spot at the top. Plus, she’s proven her fondness for the Tucson range having won an Olympic Team spot and a World Cup there recently.
Wilder made history in Lima 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.
Others to watch will include World Champs team members Kimberley Bowers (Lafayette, Calif.) and Amber Culwell (Rose Bud, Ark.) along with Janessa Beaman (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Kayle Browning (Wooster, Ark.), Stephanie Gutierrez (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Cheyenne Waldrop (Forest Hill, Calif.).
Brian Burrows (Fallbrook, Calif.) will be among those once again vying for a title on the men’s side in Trap. He’s a reigning two-time National Champion, but didn’t compete in Lima after a poor finish at the Spring Selection Match in May. Matt Gossett (Springville, Ala.) and Casey “Jake” Wallace (Castiac, Calif.) were a part of the World Championships squad and will likely be in contention come Monday. National Championships runner-up Collin Wietfeldt (Hemlock, Mich.) and Ryan Hadden (Pendleton, Ore.) will be in the mix as well. Hadden earned a World Cup gold medal at the 2012 Tucson World Cup. The junior ranks are ripe with possible contenders as well including Bradley Beckmann (Chesterfield, Mo.) who came close to a medal in Lima with a fifth-place finish, one target away from earning a spot in the shoot-off. Corey Spruill (St. Charles, Mo.)and Austin Odom (Benton, Ark.) are also two young shooters that have the ability to put themselves in contention.
2013 Fall Selection Match Schedule:
- October 5-7 — Men’s & Women’s Trap
- October 9-10 — Men’s Double Trap
- October 12-14 – Men’s & Women’s Skeet
Skeet and Double Trap previews will be issued closer to their event dates.
The Tucson Trap and Skeet Club has served southern Arizona’s shooting sportsman since its original incorporation in 1948. The club has been in its present location, west of historic Tucson, since early 1976 when construction on the 80-acre site was completed. In 2011, Tucson Trap and Skeet added 300 acres of leased land from Pima County. The Sporting Clay course is located on this new addition as well as the 25 new traps and seven new skeet fields. An Archery course will be added in time. The club one of the largest sport shooting facilities in the country and hosts several major shooting events throughout the year including the Old Pueblo Skeet Open, the Winter Chain Trap Shoot and the Satellite Spring Grand American.
Image courtesy USA Shooting