Colorado Springs, CO -(AmmoLand.com)- As USA Shooting celebrated Olympic Day Saturday on the final day of trap competition at the 2015 National Championships, it was California and Arkansas shooters that owned the podium with seven medalists overall.
National titles were earned by Golden State competitors Brian Burrows (Fallbrook) and Ashley Carroll (Solvang). Junior National titles were swept by the Natural State’s Dustin McGowen (Greenwood) and Grace Hambuchen (Maumelle).
Winning national titles has become commonplace for Burrows, who clinched his third title over a four-year span. Burrows wasn’t the best shooter over the 250 targets but earned another title by virtue of his first and third-place finishes in the finals. A shoot-off victory over Travis Old (Texarkana, Texas) today secured him the overall victory by one point over silver medalist McGowen and Alex Rennert (Surfside, Florida). McGowen capped an impressive Nationals showing by not only taking the Junior National title but also defeating Rennert in a shoot-off to earn the silver medal and the ultimate reward – USA Shooting National Team designation. McGowen’s score of 240 targets hit was match high in the men’s division and added to that with two fourth-place finishes in the each of the two finals. Rennert has now earned the bronze medal in back-to-back National Championships.
Ryan Hadden (USAMU/Pendleton, Oregon), Myles Walker (Elkhorn, Wisconsin), and Ryne Barfield (Poulan, Georgia) rounded out the top-six finishers.
Carroll’s run was equally impressive, particularly since she changed her whole routine just two weeks ago. It’s an adjustment that’s likely to stick now given that her score of 243/250 sets a new National record and earned her the best score of all competitors, male or female. Just 20, Carroll has earned medals at the past three Nationals following silver in 2014 and bronze in 2013. Still, she’s hoping her new form leads to more domination in the future in her battle for greater consistency among a talented group of national foes.
“I just went for it,” said Carroll about the change in shooting style. “It ended up working out pretty well I think. It was a great change but I still am going to work hard on it and get ready for Fall Selection Match. Every single round of this match was nerve wracking. I’m thankful I had my dad here to talk to me and calm my nerves between each round. I was so nervous.”
Nine points behind was another Arkansas competitor in Kayle Browning (Wooster), who will compete at the 2015 Pan American Games later this summer. Finishing third was Colorado Springs native Janessa Beaman behind a second-place finals finish and surviving a shoot-off with Tori Burch (Mountain Home, Texas). Kimberley Bowers (Lafayette, California) was fifth followed by Susan Sledge (El Cajon, California) in sixth.
McGowen was victorious in the Junior competition, taking the win over silver medalist Barfield and bronze medalist Logan Mountain (Palmdale, California). In the Junior Women’s event, Hambuchen overpowered her competitors with a 12-point advantage. Cheyenne Waldrop (Forest Hill, California) battled valiantly to finish second, overcoming sickness and fever throughout the four days of competition. Emily Hampson (Saint Charles, Missouri) was the bronze medalist.
Junior medalists from Nationals now own an advantage going into next month’s National Junior Olympics in the race for Junior World Team selection. The two-part selection combining cumulative results from Nationals and National Junior Olympics will select the World Team members that will compete in the Shotgun World Championships this September. USA Shooting’s National Championship now moves its focus to Men’s Double Trap and Men’s and Women’s Skeet with first targets set to fly Monday.
The returning champ in Double Trap is four-time Olympian Glenn Eller (USAMU/Houston, Texas), but his U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) teammate, Derek Haldeman, is sure to have much to say about his chances to repeat. Haldeman(Sunbury, Ohio) has finished inside the top-10 in each of the three World Cups this season including a bronze medal in Acapulco, Mexico and fourth in Al Ain, UAE. The world’s No. 1-ranked competitor in this event, Jeff Holguin (USAMU/Yorba Linda, California) along with the reigning World Champion Josh Richmond (USAMU/Hillsgrove, Pennsylvania) have chosen to sit out these Nationals leaving the door open for Junior World Champion Ian Rupert (Muncy, Pennsylvania) and World Team member Christian Wilkoski (Centerburg, Ohio).
In the ultra-competitive skeet competition, Dustin Perry (Lovelady, Texas) and Morgan Craft (Muncy Valley, Pennsylvania) return as National Champions. Competition is deep and varied led by seven-time Olympic medalists Vincent Hancock (Eatonton, Georgia) and Kim Rhode (El Monte, California).
Other men’s names to look out for will be Hayden Stewart (Columbia, Tennessee), Junior World Bronze medalist Phillip Jungman (Caldwell, Texas), Mark Weeks (USAMU/Clinton Township, Michigan) and Pan American Games team member T.J. Bayer (College Station, Texas).
On the women’s side, Caitlin Connor (Winnfield, Louisiana) has been on top of her game during the World Cup season with three results inside the top-10 including a silver medal in Acapulco. Amber English (Colorado Springs, Colorado) is coming in with a huge amount of confidence on her home range after her success at the Delta shoot two weeks ago. Also set to challenge will be World Champion Brandy Drozd (Bryan, Texas) and Junior World Champion Dania Vizzi (Odessa, Florida).
Men’s Double Trap will shoot 150 targets plus a final on Monday and Tuesday. The skeet competition will include 75 targets Monday, 50 targets plus a final on Tuesday, another 75 targets on Wednesday and the competition wraps with 50 targets plus a final on Thursday.
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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.