The ranges of the USA Shooting Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., will come alive over the next week with 40 of the best pistol athletes in the country coming together for a chance to represent the USA Shooting Team at upcoming events including World Cup USA, the World Championships and the Championship of the America’s (CAT).
The action gets underway Tuesday, February 25 with Men’s Rapid Fire Pistol and Women’s Air Pistol. Fifteen athletes will emerge as the leading candidates for both World Championship and CAT selection, though the second of the two-part qualification won’t take place until May. The top-three athletes in each of the five pistol events contested are assured a spot on the World Cup USA roster and will shoot in Ft. Benning, Ga., during the March 27-April 4 event.
Many pistol athletes already earned a springboard into 2014 following their performances at the 2013 Winter Airgun Championships to conclude a busy 2013 season. Olympians Nick Mowrer (Butte, Mont.) and Jason Turner (Rochester, N.Y.) joined up-and-coming athletes like Will and Wyatt Brown (Twin Falls, Idaho), James Henderson (Midland, Ga.), Teresa Chambers (Dearborn, Mich.), Courtney Anthony (Lexington, Neb.), Alexander Chichkov (Temple Terrace, Fla.), Alana Townsend (Kalispell, Mont.) and Lydia Paterson (Kansas City, Kan.) for spots on the squad that recently competed at the Bavarian Airgun Championships in Munich, Germany.
The U.S. highlight of Bavarian championships was turned in by Junior National Team member Townsend who qualified for her first international final in Junior Women’s Air Pistol. Townsend, 19, finished first in qualifying with a 382/400 and would walk away with an eighth-place finish overall. Her 382 was also a personal-best qualifying score.
At Winter Airgun, Paterson showcased the shooting touch that saw her become a National Team member at the 2013 USA Shooting National Championships, winning four medals overall including two junior gold medals, a junior silver and an open bronze medal. Chambers stepped up to grab two of the three WAG titles in Air Pistol along with a silver medal and is also the defending National Champion in the Sport Pistol event as well.
Turner, a three-time Olympian and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist in the event, scored one win at WAG to go along with a second place result in the Men’s Air Pistol while his 2012 Olympic teammate Mowrer took gold on two of the three days. Turner is the reigning National Champion in both the Air and Free Pistol events. Will Brown, a 2013 World Cup gold medalist in air pistol, earned one medal in three events during that December event but was the highest qualifier each of the three days.
The other Brown family pistol shooter, Wyatt, picked up two of the three junior air pistol titles over the three days.
Henderson, a member of the U. S. Army Marksmanship Unit and the USA Shooting National Development Team, was competing in his first international match in Munich and finished in ninth place in Men’s Air Pistol. He tied for eighth place with a score of 580, but the tie-breaker to determine who advances to the finals is based on center-ten shots in which Henderson just came up short, 15 to 18.
All of the athletes above will be in contention for World Cup selection as will Olympians Emil Milev (Temple Terrace, Fla.), Keith Sanderson (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Sandra Uptagrafft (Phenix City, Ala.) when they take to the firing line. Milev, a five-time Olympian who earned a World Cup Finals gold medal in November, and two-time Olympian Sanderson will be the top contenders in Rapid Fire while Uptagrafft is the defending Women’s Air Pistol National Champion.
Click on the following link for the complete Pistol Selection Match schedule: Daily Relay Schedule
Live Target Scoring of all events will be available via USA Shooting’s YouTube page at: https://www.youtube.com/usashootingteam
Image courtesy USA Shooting