Seven More Shooting Athletes Grab Seats to Granada
On Wednesday, seven more athletes confirmed their seats destined for Granada, Spain, later this summer to compete as members of the USA Shooting Team at the 2014 International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Championship.
The first six rifle athletes were confirmed following a three-day selection match held as part of the Rifle/Pistol Spring Selection Match taking place in Ft. Benning, Ga. Connor Davis (Shelbyville, Ky.), Dempster Christenson (Sioux Falls, S.D.), Ryan Anderson (Wasilla, Alaska), Sarah Beard (Danville, Ind.), Sagen Maddalena (Groveland, Calif.) and 2012 Olympian Sarah Scherer (Woburn, Mass.) all survived the intense trial and will represent USA Shooting at upcoming World Cup competition in Munich, Germany, and Maribor, Slovenia, and most importantly World Championships.
Six pistol athletes began the Selection Match by earning their place in the Air Pistol events. Five of those earned a second firing line spot Wednesday including James Henderson (USAMU/Midland, Ga.), three-time Olympian and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Jason Turner (Rochester, NY) along with all three women’s air pistol qualifiers Teresa Chambers (Dearborn, Mich.), Enkelejda Shehaj (Naples, Fla.) and 2012 Olympian Sandra Uptagrafft (Phenix City, Ala.). John Zurek (Tucson, Ariz.) added his name to the ranks after a strong final day.
Twenty-year-old Sagen Maddalena was certainly the surprise World Championships qualifier Wednesday as she earned her way on to her first USA Shooting Team ever. The 20-year-old Golden State shooter just finished her freshman season at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. She’s fared well in competition at the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) but took a gigantic step forward this week to earn her spot against a field of veteran talent. When the pressure was highest, she didn’t miss her mark, shooting the two highest qualifying scores 415.7 and 417 of any competitor over the three-day competition. Maddalena wasn’t a participant at the recent NCAA Rifle Championships as she wasn’t on the five-person roster that shot the Nanooks to a second-place finish. Beard was the top finisher by virtue of strong finals performances finishing first today, second Monday and seventh Tuesday. A fifth-place finish for Scherer today ultimately helped her earn the third spot over Minden Miles (Weatherford, Texas) and Sonya May (Rockland, Mass.) by two points. Miles is the only shooter to make all three finals during the week not to be headed to Granada while May missed today’s final after a finals win Tuesday. Two-day leader Emily Quiner (Brooklyn Park, Minn.) would falter in qualifying and would fall to eighth overall.
James Henderson has been the highlight of pistol competition having already made the team in air pistol and then following that up with a world-class performance in arguably the sport’s toughest event. He shot a qualifying score of 567 on Tuesday and followed that with an equally impressive 560. He came into the event in a tie for fourth place and shot qualifying scores of 547 and 546 during the first Selection Match back in March. Zurek would move up from a fifth-place position by virtue of a strong last day of shooting that included the second-best qualifying score (555) and a sixth-place finals finish.
Reigning National Champion Connor Davis was the class of the Men’s Air Rifle position finishing with the highest overall qualifying score (624.7), two first-place finals finishes to go along with a third-place as well. Dempster Christenson, a World Cup USA Medalist in 2013, earned a spot by virtue of two second-place finishes and a fourth to go along with solid qualifying scores. The fight for third came down to a 20-shot shoot-off after the aggregate score of three qualifying rounds and three finals still had Ryan Anderson and Bryant Wallizer (Little Orleans, Md.) still deadlocked. Wallizer would succumb to Anderson in the tie-breaker by two points to earn the third and final team spot.
Teresa Chambers, Enkelejda Shehaj and Sandra Uptagrafft proved once again that they are at the head of the class in women’s pistol.
Will Brown (Twin Falls, Idaho) previously secured a World Championship selection as a result of his third-place finish in Air Pistol. Lydia Paterson (Kansas City, Kan.) finished third in Women’s Air Pistol while Shehaj finished fourth, but with Paterson declining her spot in the open division to compete as a junior competitor at World Champs, Shehaj moved up to claim the third spot in Air Pistol.
One event and three more names will be added to the pistol squad after the conclusion of Men’s Rapid Fire Pistol events on Friday. In rifle, nine more slots remain in the three-position discipline as well as men’s prone. Women’s Three-Position and Prone starts Thursday and concludes on Saturday while Men’s Three-Position begins next Tuesday with last shots fired next Thursday. Another 30 junior-level performers will be added to the team following final selection at the USA Shooting National Championships in late June. The 90-person squad is easily the largest USA Shooting team assembled every four years.
For complete results of USA Shooting’s Rifle/Pistol Spring Selection Match, click here.