If World Cup success is any indication, the USA Shooting Team for Shotgun is as confident as it has been in recent history. USA Shooting Team athletes in shotgun have earned 13 medals in 2014. A Junior Team contingent featuring all 15 members of the Junior Team that will compete in Spain also earned seven medals as well at a Junior Cup in Suhl, Germany, including three gold, two silver and two bronze along with 11 top-seven performances. At the recently completed Spain Grand Prix, USA’s double-barreled specialists earned nine medals as well. Highlighting this season’s performance to date was a recent historic medal run at the Munich World Cup in which the shotgun team gathered seven podium finishes.
U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) cover guys and Olympians Glenn Eller (Houston, Texas), Josh Richmond (Hillsgrove, Pennsylvania)and Jeff Holguin (Yorba Linda, California) will look to keep an impressive run going at Worlds. The Double Trap trio rarely visit any range in the world without prospecting some hardware having earned five of the 12 World Cup medals handed out this season. In 32 events since 2008, including Olympic Games, World Championships, World Cup Finals and World Cups, an American has finished lower than sixth only six times. In the nine events since the disappointment in London where no American finished in the top-eight, only once [World Cup Cyprus] has an American finished lower than fifth. In that stretch, the U.S. team has earned eight medals. Since 2008, the U.S. Men’s Double Trap Team has won 21 medals in 32 events.
Good things are happening on the Junior side of Double Trap as well. World Junior Champion Ian Rupert (Muncy, Pennsylvania) along with Dale Royer (Jackson, Montana) and Christian Wilkoski (Centerburg, Ohio) will represent the U.S. in Double Trap in the Junior Division at the World Championship. Rupert and Wilkoski were teammates on the Junior Double Trap team that took the team gold medal at the World Clay Target Championships in Lima, Peru last year. Royer is the son of Francis Strodham, who earned her first World Championship team berth for trap 40 years ago and is a two-time World Champs bronze medalist (1981, 1985) in Women’s Trap.
Hard to believe that reigning two-time Olympic champion Vincent Hancock (Eatonton, Georgia) could take a back seat to anyone, but it has happened in previewing the Men’s Skeet contingent for Worlds. The rise of Dustin Perry (Lovelady, Texas, pictured) is the reason. In a highly-competitive National Championships, Perry earned a second straight national title to go along with the first World Cup medal (bronze) of his career to begin the season in Tucson followed by a fourth-place finish in Munich and another bronze at the Spain Grand Prix. Hancock and 2012 Olympian Frank Thompson (Alliance, Nebraska) highlight discipline strength of USA Shooting.
In Women’s Skeet, Kim Rhode (El Monte, California)has picked up where she left off competitively before taking time away from the sport to have a baby last May with three World Cup medals in 2014, including two wins. Brandy Drozd (Bryan, Texas)and Haley Dunn (Eddyville, Iowa)have showcased the depth in this discipline as well with Drozd winning a silver medal and finishing fourth in two World Cup events, both times losing in a shoot-off to Rhode during the medal finals. Dunn joined the U.S. Team sweep in Munich with a bronze medal. Drozd and Dunn finished 1-2 in the Spain Grand Prix as well.
“As I prepare for the World Championship, I am getting more and more excited to represent my country as well as be a part of such a dominant team,” Drozd said. “In addition, coming off of the Granada Grand Prix in July with a gold adds to my confidence and excitement. I can’t wait to step back on the field and compete for a quota spot in the beautiful city of Granada!”
Men’s Trap is highlighted by recently-crowned National Champion Jake Wallace (Castaic, California) who will team with USAMU teammates Ryan Hadden (Pendleton, Oregon)and Seth Inman (Independence, Missouri).
Recent World Cup medalists Victoria Burch (Kerrville, Texas)and Janessa Beaman (Colorado Springs, Colorado) will join Ashley Carroll (Solvang, California) in Granada for Women’s Trap. Burch and Beaman earned a 1-2 finish at the Munich World Cup while Beaman also scored a silver medal at the Spain Grand Prix earlier this summer. National Championships silver medalist Carroll won the selection events for World Championships and recently finished third at the Spain Grand Prix.
“Having earned a Junior World title in 2011, I’m excited to compete in the Open Women’s category now where I hope to become a world champion once more,” Beaman said. “Having the honor of bringing home a medal and a quota spot for the USA would be a dream come true.”
“With the record breaking year that we have had in shotgun thus far, I am very excited about the potential to capture some of the early quotas available in Spain,” said USA Shooting Team leader and Assistant National Team Coach in Double Trap Dwayne Weger. “I know that our athletes are well prepared and should be at their finest at this World Championship.”
MONDAY: Sept.8 – Men’s & Jr. Men’s Trap (Day 1 of 3)
TUESDAY: Sept.9 – Men’s & Jr. Men’s Trap (Day 2 of 3)
WEDNESDAY: Sept.10 – Men’s & Jr. Men’s Trap (Day 3) + Finals
FRIDAY: Sept.12 – Women’s & Jr. Women’s Trap Qualifying + Finals
SUNDAY: Sept.14 – Men’s & Jr. Men’s Double Trap Qualifying + Finals
MONDAY: Sept.15 – Women’s & Jr. Women’s Skeet Qualifying + Finals
WEDNESDAY: Sept.17 – Men’s & Jr. Men’s Skeet (Day 1 of 3)
THURSDAY: Sept.18 – Men’s & Jr. Men’s Skeet (Day 2 of 3)
FRIDAY Sept.19 Men’s & Jr. Men’s Skeet Qualifying + Finals
For a complete World Championship schedule, click here.
Check out the complete World Champs U.S. Team preview in the fourth USA Shooting News issue of 2014.
Image courtesy USA Shooting Team