Colorado Springs, CO -(Ammoland.com)- USA Shooting’s top pistol athletes converged in Colorado Springs this week to compete in a Smallbore (.22 caliber) Selection Match and to try and garner the requisite standards necessary for world-level competition funding in 2015.
Will Brown, Sandra Uptagrafft and Keith Sanderson emerged victorious after two qualification rounds plus a final. Brown (Twin Falls, Idaho) earned top marks in the Free Pistol event, defeating Olympians Brian Beaman (Selby, S.D.) and Nick Mowrer (Butte, Montana), aided by his two finals wins and the PSS-qualifying mark of 562 he shot on day two. Brown was also the top Air Pistol finisher during the Winter Airgun Championships.
James Henderson (Midland, Georgia) of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) was fourth followed by four-time Olympian and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Jason Turner (Rochester, New York) in fifth. Uptagrafft (Phenix City, Alabama) used her Olympic experience to better her sport pistol competitors, particularly during qualification as her combined score was 16 points better than that of second-place finisher Enkelejda Shehaj (Naples, Florida). Texas A&M pistol shooter Payton Duvall-Freymuller (San Antonio, Texas) proved to be the surprise of the match, landing in both event finals, to finish third overall. Brenda Silva (Snowflake, Arizona), a 2008 Olympian, was fourth followed by 2014 NRA Intercollegiate Women’s Pistol Champion Alexis Lagan (Salt Lake City, Utah) in fifth.
The event concluded with the biggest highlight of the four-day event with the two-time Olympian Sanderson (Colorado Springs, Colorado) recording a 35/40 in the Rapid Fire Pistol final, equaling the world-record finals mark. The Rapid Fire finals require athletes to complete a five-shot series in four seconds and only shots 9.7 points or better are scored a “hit.” That fine display of marksmanship backed up a strong qualification score of 581. Five-time Olympian Emil Milev (Temple Terrace, Florida) finished second overall while USAMU’s Brad Balsley (Uniontown, Pennsylvania) was third. Double Junior World Champion Alex Chichkov (Temple Terrace, Florida) finished fourth followed by Tony Chung (Diamond Bar, California) in fifth.
Top performances, however, don’t guarantee these athletes an all-expenses paid trip to the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cups beginning with Changwon, Korea, in April. USA Shooting has adopted Performance Standard Scores (PSS) for 2015 in all shooting disciplines that represent the score level required to qualify consistently for Finals in ISSF competitions and are being used to determine eligibility for USA Shooting funding to major international events. To date, Sanderson and Milev represent the only two pistol athletes being funded for upcoming World Cup matches in any of the five events based on their 2014 performances.
World Cups have added significance for athletes in 2015 as the four ISSF World Cups and the Pan American Games mark the remaining opportunities for athletes to earn quota slots for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. More information on selection procedures for 2015 World Cups and the 2016 Olympic Games can be found here.
USA Shooting will conduct another Smallbore Selection Match for both Rifle and Pistol athletes, March 29-April 3, followed by an Airgun Selection Match, April 24-26, both in Ft. Benning.
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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.