The 2014 Winter Selection Match for Pistol began and ended with National Records and near-missed World Records, and in between 11 athletes earned the right to compete in the upcoming World Cup USA, March 27-April 4, along with getting one-step closer to the all-important World Championships selection.
The match began with Emil Milev (Temple Terrace, Fla.) breaking a National record in Rapid Fire Pistol with a 33/40 in the Day 2 Final, which was just one point shy of a Finals World Record. Today, Army Marksmanship sharp shooter James Henderson (Midland, Ga.) earned his second straight Finals win with an impressive Finals score of 199.5. That mark is the second-best recorded mark since the new Finals format began in January 2013, just shy of the mark of 200.7 set by reigning two-time Olympic gold medalist Jongoh Jin of South Korea at the last summer’s Granada (Spain) World Cup. Aside from Jin’s score, Henderson’s Finals score was 2.8 points higher than any other winner on the World Cup circuit last year.
Despite an impressive two-day Finals showing for Henderson, he still had to go up against Stephen Lutz (Tonganoxie, Kan.) in a 10-shot shoot-off after the match had concluded to break a tie for the third and final World Cup spot. He had narrowly missed making the team in Air Pistol, losing by one point overall. Henderson’s hot shooting continued over and he claimed the spot to ensure he was able to compete at his home range later this month.
“Man that was a lot of fun…it was very exciting,” Henderson said after the match. “I shot really well in that one and I really wanted to make one of the guns for the World Cup. In Free, I’m a little more comfortable shooting it and it just worked out well. I guess the little gun shoots pretty well. How do you go from a 546 in qualifying to a 199 in Finals [shrugging his shoulders]? I won a trip to shoot…at home.”
Claiming the other two spots were Will Brown (Twin Falls, Idaho) and three-time Olympian Jason Turner (Rochester, N.Y.). Brown finished second in the finals each day to ensure he’d be competing in both air and free events after securing a 19-point victory earlier in the week in Air. If you recall, Brown earned his first career World Cup medal in Air at last year’s World Cup USA.
Olympian Sandra Uptagrafft (Phenix City, Ala.) along with Teresa Meyer Chambers (Dearborn, Mich.) join Brown and Turner as athletes qualifying in two different events.
World Cup USA selections were made by adding qualification points together over two courses of fire along with the points earned from a competitor’s respective finals placement, with the first-place finisher earning eight additional points to their qualification score for the day.
The top-three athletes in each of the five pistol events contested at this Selection Match earned a spot on the World Cup USA roster. The event also served as Part I of a two-part selection process to determine the USA Shooting Team that will compete at the upcoming ISSF World Championships in September. The final half of the World Championship, CAT and remaining World Cup selection will take place May 9-22 in Fort Benning, Ga.
- Complete results of the Pistol Selection Match: http://www.usashooting.org/library/Competitions/2014_Pistol_Selection/Results/Final_Results.pdf
- Pictures from today’s Free Pistol Final: http://www.flickr.com/photos/usashooting/sets/72157641825365065/
World Cup USA Pistol Team
- Brad Balsley (USAMU/Uniontown, Pa.) – Rapid Fire
- Brian Beaman (Selby, S.D.) – Air
- Will Brown (Twin Falls, Idaho) – Air/Free
- James Henderson (USAMU/Midland, Ga.) – Free
- Emil Milev (Temple Terrace, Fla.) – Rapid Fire
- Keith Sanderson (Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Rapid Fire
- Jason Turner (Rochester, N.Y.) – Air/Free
- Teresa Meyer Chambers (Dearborn, Mich.) – Air/Sport
- Lydia Paterson (Kansas City, Kan.) – Air
- Sandra Uptagrafft (Phenix City, Ala.) – Air/Sport
- Enkelejda Shehaj (Naples, Fla.) – Sport
Image courtesy USA Shooting