Colorado Springs, CO -(Ammoland.com)- Nearly 200 of the country’s top shotgun athletes have made their way to the home of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) this week to compete in the Shotgun Spring Selection Match April 8 – 17 in Fort Benning, Georgia.
The stakes for this match are high as slots on the team for the final International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup of the year in Gabala, Azerbaijan and the World Championship for Shotgun in Lonato, Italy are on the line; along with eligibility for the Pan American Games this summer in Toronto, Canada. The results from this match will be combined with the results from the 2014 Shotgun Fall Selection Match to determine team selections for these events.
Winning Olympic quotas at these events are of utmost importance for the USA Shooting Team with opportunities to earn those coveted quotas dwindling as the year wears on. A quota spot is essentially the entry ticket necessary for a country to compete in Olympic competition in a particular discipline. USA Shooting athletes winning Olympic quotas will still have to earn the right to compete separately. Thus far in the Shotgun events, the U.S. has earned one quota in Women’s Trap, one in Men’s Skeet, as well as the maximum of two per event in Men’s Double Trap and Women’s Skeet. The U.S. has yet to earn a quota in Men’s Trap.
Not only will athletes be looking to earn the maximum number of quota slots for the U.S., they’ll also be working individually to earn valuable Olympic points through their World Cup finishes toward nomination to the 2016 Olympic Team. More information on the Olympic Points System for Shotgun can be found on page 13 of Athlete Selection Procedures for the 2016 Olympic Games.
The USA Shooting Shotgun Team got off to a strong start in 2015, winning gold in four of the five events at the first ISSF World Cup of the season in Acapulco, Mexico, as well as a silver and a bronze medal also earned at that event. Though the U.S. won no medals at the second World Cup in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates, the team still posted a strong performance with three athletes qualifying for Finals and three others losing in a shoot-off for a medal opportunity. These athletes will compete together at one more World Cup in Larnaca, Cyprus April 24 – May 4.
The largest field in this match will be in Men’s Trap with 81 shooters vying for medals. Not only will the members of this year’s World Cup teams be competing – Jake Wallace (Castaic, California), Brian Burrows (Fallbrook, California) and Collin Wietfeldt (Hemlock, Michigan) – but members of last year’s World Championship team and several National and Junior National Team members should make it a tight race for the top-three slots and the chance to earn the U.S. its first Olympic quota in the event. Wallace will look to hold his position in the top-three, while Burrows and Wietfeldt have work to do to climb back in among the top three, with Burrows six back and Wietfeldt nine back from the third-place position currently held by 2014 World Team member Seth Inman (USAMU/Independence, Missouri). Junior Team member Myles Walker (Elkhorn, Wisconsin) is currently in first place.The women’s side doesn’t look any less competitive with National Champion and World Cup Acapulco gold medalist Corey Cogdell-Unrein (Eagle River, Alaska) leading the field. Kayle Browning (Wooster, Arkansas) has once again proven her mettle with a fourth-place finish in World Cup Acapulco, but don’t count out members of last year’s World Championship team such as Ashley Carroll (Solvang, California) who finished 10th at that competition and won a gold at last year’s Championship of the Americas or Janessa Beaman (Colorado Springs, Colorado) who won silver at last year’s World Cup Munich, World Cup Finals and at the Championship of the Americas. Beaman is in second-place currently followed by Kimberley Bowers (Lafayette, California) in third with five other competitors, including Browning, within 10 points.
Men’s Skeet competition should be extremely tight as during last year’s Fall Selection, the top six competitors were only separated by six points following Qualification. Look for T.J. Bayer (College Station, Texas) and Mark Weeks (USAMU/Clinton Township, Michigan) to challenge current World Cup team members Dustin Perry (Lovelady, Texas), Frank Thompson (Alliance, Nebraska) and Acapulco World Cup gold medalist Vincent Hancock (Eatonton, Georgia) for medals.
Though the U.S. has won the maximum of two quotas for Men’s Double Trap and Women’s Skeet, the athletes who move on will have the chance to earn those important points toward Olympic team selection. World Champions Josh Richmond (USAMU/Hillsgrove, Pennsylvania) and Brandy Drozd (Bryan, Texas) will look to get back in the points race after being shutout of the first three World Cups this year. Also look for Amber English (Colorado Springs, Colorado) to challenge for medals in Women’s Skeet as she missed making the World Cups earlier this year by one target in a shootoff with Morgan Craft (Muncy Valley, Pennsylvania).
Only Open category athletes for the World Championship will be chosen at this Selection Match. Junior athletes for the World Championship will be selected based on results from this summer’s National Junior Olympic Shooting Championships and National Championships.
Schedule for 2015 USAS Shotgun Spring Selection:
Fort Benning, Georgia (April 8-17, 2015)
- April 8: Trap Open Training
- April 9: Trap (75 targets)
- April 10: Trap (50 targets) + Final
- April 11: Trap (75 targets)
- April 12: Trap (50 targets) + Final
- April 13: Skeet Open Training
- April 14: Skeet (75 targets); Double Trap Open Training
- April 15: Skeet (50 targets) + Final Double Trap (150 targets) + Final
- April 16: Skeet (75 targets);Double Trap (150 targets) + Final
- April 17: Skeet (50 targets) + Final
About Winchester Ammunition
Winchester Ammunition is a Proud Sponsor of the USA Shooting Shotgun Team: Winchester Ammunition has been the exclusive ammunition sponsor and supplier of the USA Shooting Shotgun Team since 1999. Members of the past two shotgun teams brought home a combined six medals from London and Beijing using Winchester AA International Target loads. Winchester is an industry leader in advancing and supporting conservation, hunter education and our country's proud shooting sports heritage.
For more information about Winchester and its complete line of products, visit www.Winchester.com.
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.