Six of the nation’s best shotgun competitors will close out their extensive season with a match against the best challengers in the world at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup Finals this week in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
USA Shooting Team members Glenn Eller (Houston, Texas), Vincent Hancock (Eatonton, Ga.), Corey Cogdell (Eagle River, Alaska), Josh Richmond (Hillsgrove, Pa.), Ian Rupert (Muncy, Pa.) and Brian Burrows (Fallbrook, Calif.) were invited to the event based on results throughout the year as well as previous accomplishments. The U.S. contingent make up 1/10th of the best World performers from throughout the past season with 60 shooters from 25 nations set to compete at the Al Forsan International Sports Resort, October 23-28.
Eller has had an autumn resurgence in the double trap event having earned his second World Title in Lima, Peru last month followed by a climb to the top of the podium at the recently concluded USA Shooting Fall Selection Match. Competing in the prestigious year-end match is nothing new for the veteran Eller as this will be his ninth appearance. He’s earned four medals overall including a pair of victories in 2007 and 2001.
He’s brought good company along with him in U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) and 2012 Olympic teammate Richmond. Having struggled with a new gun and the new finals format throughout 2013, Richmond finds himself in Abu Dhabi courtesy of his winning performance during World Cup Finals a year ago in Maribor, Slovenia. This will be Richmond’s fourth World Cup Finals appearance. His lone World Cup match in 2013 was in Cypress where he finished with his lowest result ever, 30th, in 19 appearances.
Struggles are a relative concept in the American Double Trap game where the domestic battle might be as fierce as the international competition they face. A stable of six U.S. shooters is regularly vying for top honors and Richmond is entangled in that mix having earned a U.S. title and a bronze at Fall Selection this season.
A rising force in Men’s Double Trap is Rupert who earned his invite to Abu Dhabi with a bronze medal in the opening World Cup of the season in Acapulco, Mexico. He culminated his season with a Junior World Championship title in Lima as well as a junior title in Fall Selection. His work ethic since moving to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs earlier this year has paid huge dividends for the 19-year-old Pennsylvania native.
Getting things underway Wednesday in the Trap discipline for Team USA will be two-time Olympian and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Corey Cogdell along with Brian Burrows. Cogdell earned her fourth World Cup Finals berth by virtue of her bronze-medal finish in Granada, Spain, where she set equaled the world in qualifying with a 75-straight. Burrows, the two-time defending National Champion, got his season started with a silver medal at the season-opening World Cup in Acapulco.
This will be Hancock’s fifth trip to a World Cup Finals and he’s mined a lot of silver their having finished second on each of his previous four appearances. Hancock has set a high bar the past four years with two Olympic titles, three World Cup Finals medals, a World title and two World Cup medals. Thus, his recent performance of 10th at the World Championships and fifth at Fall Selection just asserts he’s human after all. He’s due for a breakout performance and he likes it best when the stakes are high.
The World Cup Finals for Rifle/Pistol will be contested Nov. 6-12 in Munich, Germany, and will include six Americans including Olympians Michael McPhail (Darlington, Wis.), Emil Milev (Temple Terrace, Fla.), Keith Sanderson (Colorado Springs, Colo.) along with the return of 2012 Olympic gold medalist Jamie (Beyerle) Gray (Lebanon, Pa.).
World Cup Finals for Shotgun Schedule
- Wednesday, October 23 – Men’s & Women’s Trap + Final
- Thursday, October 24 – Men’s Trap Final
- Friday, October 24 – Men’s Double Trap + Final
- Sunday, October 26 – Men’s & Women’s Skeet + Final
- Monday, October 27 – Men’s Skeet Final
Image courtesy USA Shooting