For Emil Milev (Temple Terrace, Fla.), today was lucky No. 15.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. –-(Ammoland.com)- That's how many World Cup medals the five-time Olympian has racked up over his career with that 15th medal coming from his third-place finish in Men's 25m Rapid Fire Pistol today at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup in Granada, Spain.
“I'm happy with the result and with my performance,” Milev said. “I set a goal for this competition to medal and was able to reach it. There were some rough moments which I was able to overcome and thankfully not let them take over.”
Milev entered the finals in first place with a two-day qualification score of 585. With the new ISSF finals format in place however (which excludes preliminary scores), all of the six qualifying shooters would enter finals on equal footing.
At the end of their second competition stage in the finals, Milev was tied for second place with Christian Reitz of Germany with 23 hits. On the seventh elimination series, Reitz bested Milev 4-3.
Also making the finals with a strong second-day performance, Keith Sanderson (Kailua, Hawaii) was able to climb from 24th place after Day 1 to qualify for the finals in second place with a one-day total of 297 in his second relay. Sanderson would eventually be eliminated first in the finals for sixth place, but not before making five hits on his final elimination round.
Sanderson has qualified for the finals in both of his World Cup appearances after finishing fifth in Fort Benning, Ga. in May.
Brad Balsley (Phenix City, Ala.) finished 33rd overall in qualification.
Yuehong Li of China would eventually win the gold medal in Men's 25m Rapid Fire Pistol with Reitz securing the silver.
At the Granada World Cup, the U.S. team has had eight finalists through 11 events, as well as 15 top-15 performances among the 48-member team.
Women's Three-Position Rifle wrapped today as well with the highest American finish coming from Sarah Scherer (Woburn, Mass.) who finished 13th with 581 points in qualification. National Champion Sarah Beard (Danville, Ind.) finished 16th with 580 and Emily Holsopple (Wilcox, Pa.) placed 26th with 578 points.
The gold medal went to Petra Zublasing of Italy, followed by Lajja Gauwami of India who took silver and Malin Westerheim of Norway who won bronze.
Men's Three-Position Rifle competition started today with two elimination relays (used to pare down the large field of competitors) followed by qualification and finals to be conducted tomorrow. The fifth-highest score overall came from Dempster Christenson (Sioux Falls, S.D.) who shot 1161. Not far behind was Three-Position National Champion Jason Parker (Omaha, Neb.) with 1159 and Michael McPhail (Darlington, Wis.) with 1148. All three shooters have moved on to qualification.
World Cup USA gold medalist Will Brown (Twin Falls, Idaho) looks to continue his success in Air Pistol in Granada Wednesday with some pressure from fellow American, three-time Olympian and Air Pistol National Champion Jason Turner (Rochester, N.Y.). New National Team member Jay Shi (Phoenix, Ariz.) will also compete in this event.
The Shotgun events conclude tomorrow and Thursday with Women's and Men's Skeet. The U.S. Shotgun Team will be trying to ensure finalists in all five events after putting forth four in the first three events highlighted by Corey Cogdell (Eagle River, Alaska) and her bronze medal Friday after a perfect qualifying World Record-score of 75.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Vincent Hancock (Eatonton, Ga.) will be looking to maintain his dominant ways by winning a second World Cup gold medal when he shoots July 10-11 in the skeet competition. Hancock recently dropped 250-straight targets in qualifying for the Granada World Cup during USA Shooting's Spring Selection Match in May and previously won the Acapulco World Cup in March to begin his season. He'll be joined by Olympic teammate and friend Frank Thompson (Alliance, Neb.) who is looking to earn the first World Cup medal of his career after a 12th place finish in the Al Ain, UAE, World Cup earlier this year. T.J. Bayer (College Station, Texas) will also to try and carry his hot shooting into Granada after winning two titles at the recent National Junior Olympic Shooting Championships (NJOSC) in Colorado Springs, Colo. Bayer would win both Trap and Double Trap but finished eighth in his signature event after succumbing to the grind of three straight events in addition to an injury he suffered while hiking during the event.
On the women's skeet side, Brandy Drozd (Bryan, Texas) earned top honors during Spring Selection and will lead a talented group of young and hungry clay shooters into action. She'll be joined by Morgan Craft (Muncy Valley, Pa.) along with Spring Selection runner-up Haley Dunn (Muenster, Texas), who finished seventh in Acapulco. Gayla Gregory (College Station, Texas) and Dania Vizzi (Odessa, Fla.) also join the ranks as extra shooters for Team USA and will be looking for valuable World Cup experience. Vizzi recently finished first at the NJOSC event.
For up-to-date ISSF Granada World Cup results, click here: http://www.issf-sports.org/calendar/championship_schedule_by_discipline.ashx?cshipid=1446
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 and on Twitter at twitter.com/USAShooting