Selection Sunday took on a double entendre for the nation’s best trap shooters today, who, like college basketball’s top teams, were anxious to fulfill their destiny as a member of the 2014 USA Shooting Team that will compete at this year’s World Championships.
Similar to March Madness, there were a few upsets and plenty of drama, but in the end, there’s nothing subjective about earning your way onto this team. You shoot, you score. For 12 athletes, they did just that amid tough, variable conditions during the Spring Selection Match held over the past four days at the Hill Country Shooting Sports Center tin Kerrville, Texas. The Olympic Training Center site played host to two qualifying and final sessions; the second stage in a two-part qualifier that began last fall at the Fall Selection Match. Selection was on the line for the World Championships, the Championship of Americas (CAT), as well as select teams for the remaining ISSF World Cups in Almaty, Kazakhstan (May 16–25), Munich, Germany (June 4-14) and Beijing, China (July 1-10). The ISSF World Championships will take place in Granada, Spain September 6-20.
“I’m extremely proud of all the athletes for their determination and will to hang in there despite extremely tough conditions,” said National Team Coach Todd Graves. “This complex and trying selection process has identified a trap team that I feel can get the job done in Granada and earn the quotas we covet.”
On the Men’s side, the top-two places held true to form from Fall Selection with U.S. Army Marksmanship shooters Ryan Hadden (USAMU/Pendleton, Ore.) and Seth Inman (USAMU/Independence, Mo.) exerting their shooting prowess. Hadden began the qualification shooting a 123/125 and ended today’s qualification with a 121/125, which were the two best qualifying scores of four total qualification matches. He also won the first final on Friday.
One of the bigger performances in Kerrville was put down by Jake Wallace (Castiac, Calif.), who jumped two spots to earn his berth to Granada. He solidified his position with a Finals win today. Rightfully so, these three World Champs representatives were the only three athletes to make all three selection finals. Hadden finished first, third and fourth in those finals. Inman was fifth in all three finals. Wallace meanwhile finished first, second and fourth.
“Being on the World Championship Team is an honor and something every shooter strives to make,” Wallace said. “I am honored and pleased that all my hard work has paid off to allow me the opportunity to compete.”
But perhaps the week’s biggest performance came from Ryne Barfield (Poulan, Ga.). Coached by 2013 USA Shooting Coach of the Year and Assistant National Team Coach Mike Simpson, Barfield was in a tie in 13th position after Tucson. Today, he’s headed to Granada after a performance that included a first and fifth-place finish in each of the two finals as well as the second-best combined qualifying score in Kerrville. Austin Odom (Benton, Ark.) was the top junior finisher with two first-place finishes and top overall qualifying scores and was the lone junior athlete to earn a spot in all three finals. Garrett Beissner (Hondo, Texas) earned his spot by virtue of two finals performance that saw him finish second in each.
Despite her Sunday struggles, Rachael Heiden (Clinton, Mich.) showcased her World Champs readiness with three of the four top qualifying scores and two first-place finishes in the three finals. Ashley Carroll (Solvang, Calif.) showed once again that she’s a force to reckon with in the sport as the only athlete to earn a way into all three finals. Carroll finished second in two of them and fifth in Sunday’s final.
“I’m so honored to have made the World Championship Team,” said Heiden. “This year is extremely vital with quota spots available. I am excited to be part of a great team and look forward to trying to secure those quotas.”
Janessa Beaman (Colorado Springs, Colo.) made the biggest leap of the women’s field to earn her spot on the team coming from sixth place in Tucson to third in Kerrville. She did so with consistent shooting in qualifying, followed by second and third-place finishes.
Caitlin Barney-Weinheimer (Kerrville, Texas) let her shooting announce her comeback this week as she showcased she hasn’t lost much since taking time off to have a child last year. She finished off the event with a first-place finals finish while also finishing with a finals performance as well. As a result, she was chosen to compete on the team at the CAT Championships. Weinheimer has also shown a love of shooting in Kerrville ever since competing there during her collegiate days at Schreiner University. She jumped to an early lead there in late 2011 in the run for an Olympic spot before fizzling down the stretch in Tucson in March 2012.
Amber Culwell (Rose Bud, Ark.) will lead a Junior Women’s squad after three consecutive finals appearances, including two wins. Samantha Smith (Spring Hill, Tenn.) also earned a spot in all three finals and won today’s finale while also shooting the high qualifying score on Friday (114), which tied her with Heiden for second highest qualifying score of the week.
2014 World Championships Team
Remaining 2014 World Cups
The top-three finishers at Fall Selection in Tucson, Ariz. already had earned trips to the upcoming World Cup USA back in Tucson, April 8-15 and received points toward World Championships qualification. The event featured 250 targets over three days of competition and included one final for open and juniors. Athletes received an aggregate ranking based on two series of 125 targets each, plus Finals points.
Next up at Spring Selection is Skeet and Double Trap competition set to begin Thursday in Kerrville.
Image courtesy USA Shooting