COLORADO SPRINGS, CO. –-(Ammoland.com)- Olympic dreams will be made this weekend in Port Clinton, Ohio, during the second round of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Airgun.
Over 180 athletes are headed to the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s (CMP) north location at Camp Perry, Feb. 24-26, for a shot at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team.
The first round of U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Airgun took place in December 2011 at the CMP’s south facility in Anniston, Ala. The scores from the first part will be combined with those from the event this coming weekend. On Sunday, Feb. 26, USA Shooting will nominate six athletes to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team: two each from Men’s 10m Air Rifle, Women’s 10m Air Rifle and Men’s 10m Air Pistol.
The leaderboard in Men’s 10m Air Rifle is separated by only a handful of points. Top-ranked athletes Corporal Matt Rawlings (Wharton, Texas) of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) and two-time Olympic medalist Matt Emmons (Browns Mills, N.J.) are separated by less than two points. Rawlings finished third at the Trials in 2008, missing the Olympic Team by just one point. Emmons has already earned a nomination for Men’s 50m Rifle Three Position and is looking to shoot a second event in London.
Rawlings leads the field after shooting world-class scores of 598 and 595 points during the first two days of Trials action. Emmons, who changed air rifles prior to the first round of Trials, is still getting acquainted with his new gun. With two solid scores already in the books (595 and 596 points), his finals will be key to his success. During the first round, Emmons out-performed the competition with a final of 104.6 points.
“The history of successfully shooting several Trials helps, but more important is the obstacles that I have overcome and my international experience,” said seasoned pro Emmons. “The combination of those things helps me focus on the important things during Trials.”
Not to be overlooked will be Jonathan Hall (Carrollton, Ga.). Hall is within two points of Emmons and capable of the world-class scores needed to secure a spot on the Team.
In an unlikely turn of events, there are not one but two leaders in Women’s 10m Air Rifle. Both Sarah Scherer (Woburn, Mass.) and Emily Caruso (Fairfield, Conn.) fired identical scores after two days. The duo is two points ahead of 2008 Olympian Jamie Gray (Lebanon, Pa.), who finished fourth in airgun in Beijing. Caruso is the most experienced shooter in the group as a two-time Olympian, but as a 21-year-old, Scherer’s youth and tenacity are not to be underestimated. Scherer and Caruso dueled at the 2008 Trials, but Caruso prevailed to earn the women’s air rifle selection. With two spots available for London, competition between these three will be fierce. Adding to the pressure is Meghann K. Morrill (Boerne, Texas) in the fourth position. Morrill ended on a high note with 399 points her second day of shooting.
Sergeant First Class Daryl Szarenski (Seale, Ala.) of the U.S. Army’s World Class Athlete Program (WCAP) delivered a record-setting performance in the first part of Men’s 10m Air Pistol. The three-time Olympian shot a new national record of 590 match points the first day and a very solid 584 points the second day. He is leading the field by 18.3 points and is a strong favorite for the first of the two Olympic slots. Jason Turner (Rochester, N.Y.), the reigning Olympic bronze medalist in the event, Will Brown (Twin Falls, Idaho) and Brian Beaman (Selby, S.D.) are in contention after the first round.
As the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team representatives in the event, Turner and Beaman bring a wealth of experience to the firing line, but the fast-rising Brown will look to add his name to the mix. Turner is holding strong in second place with 1257.5 points, but Brown is within six-tenths of a point behind and eager to earn the coveted Olympic spot. Beaman is less than four points off Turner and can potentially make up those points with a strong final match.
In Women’s 10m Air Pistol, Sandra Uptagrafft (Phenix City, Ala.) is nearly 20 points ahead of the other competitors. However, the USA Shooting Team does not have a quota for Women’s 10m Air Pistol for London, so this match will not determine a women’s pistol representative.
In airgun, male and female competitors shoot 60 and 40 shots respectively during a single course of fire at electronic targets 10m (32.8 feet) down range. The maximum number of points available is 600 for men and 400 points for women with 10 being the highest score possible per shot. Male competitors are given 1 hour and 45 minutes, whereas female competitors have 1 hour and 15 minutes to complete all shots. Athletes then qualify for the finals by placing in the top eight after an aggregate match score. The final for both events consists of ten shots fired on command by the Chief Range Officer. The scoring in the finals is unique from the rest of the match because decimals are counted, so the maximum number of points a competitor can earn is 109 points with 10.9 being the highest score possible per shot. Olympic Team selection will be based on the aggregate of four courses of fire and two best finals.
Spectators are welcome to attend and cheer on future Olympians. For more information on the CMP North Marksmanship Center and live results, please visit the CMP website. For updates and daily recaps, please visit the USA Shooting website, Twitter or Facebook page.
The U.S. Olympic Team Trials for all sports is a collaborative, three-way partnership between the U.S. Olympic Committee, the national governing bodies and the local organizing committees. All athletes nominated to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team must be approved by the U.S. Olympic Committee.
About USA Shooting
USA Shooting, a 501c3 non-profit corporation, was chartered by the United States Olympic Committee as the National Governing Body for the sport of shooting in April 1995. USA Shooting’s mission is to prepare American athletes to win Olympic medals, promote the shooting sports throughout the U.S. and govern the conduct of international shooting in the country. Check us out on the web at www.usashooting.org