McPhail, Phillips, Lagan and Mowrer Claim Top Honors at National Championships

USA Shooting National Championships
USA Shooting National Championships
USA Shooting National Championships for Rifle & Pistol
USA Shooting National Championships for Rifle & Pistol

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado-( 40 days before the Olympic Games open in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2016 Olympic Team nominee Michael McPhail claimed gold on his home range today at the USA Shooting National Championships for Rifle/Pistol in Fort Benning, Georgia.

Also winning top honors today was Junior Morgan Phillips (Salisbury, Maryland) in Women’s Prone Rifle, Airgun Olympic Trials runner-up Alexis Lagan (Las Vegas, Nevada) for Women’s Air Pistol and 2012 Olympian Nick Mowrer (Butte, Montana) in Men’s Air Pistol.

McPhail (U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit/Darlington, Wisconsin) shot world-class scores in Men’s Prone Rifle that were the highest of all competitors during both days of competition (631.2 and 628.5). Though he only finished second in the lone Final of the match, the additional points won in the Final plus his leading Qualification scores gave him enough for the win. Dempster Christenson (Sioux Falls, South Dakota), who won Men’s Three-Position Rifle just two days earlier, took silver in Men’s Prone Rifle. Jason Dardas (Fort Benning, Georgia) won the bronze medal.

Jacob Buchanan (Spring, Texas) edged out Matthew Liao (Yorba Linda, California) for the gold in the Junior Men’s Prone Rifle event by just .8 point. Peter Fiori (Lebanon, New Jersey) would win the bronze.

Phillips tied Women’s Prone Rifle silver medalist Hanna Carr (Versailles, Kentucky) in their two-day cumulative scores of 1242.2. Finals were not conducted in the non-Olympic events, and thus Phillips would best Carr for the gold medal because of the higher inner tens (or X count – the number of shots on a smaller ring inside the 10-ring, only used for tie-breaking procedures). Ariana Grabowski (Beaver, Pennsylvania) won bronze.

Phillips and Carr would also win gold and silver respectively in the Junior Women’s event, with Elizabeth Gratz (Sigel, Illinois) taking the Junior Women’s Prone Rifle bronze medal.

Another tie would occur in the Men’s Air Pistol event as Mowrer and newly-crowned National Champion in Centerfire and Standard Pistol Greg Markowski (USAMU/Columbus, Georgia) were tied at 1157 each – including additional points earned from their finishes in today’s Final. Eventually Mowrer would best Markowski for the gold on X count. James Hall (Anniston, Alabama) won the Men’s Air Pistol bronze.

Junior Men’s Sport and Standard Pistol champion Jack Leverett (Bainbridge, Georgia) would pick up his third gold medal at these National Championships by winning the Junior Men’s Air Pistol title. Anthony McCollum (Purdin, Missouri) won silver and Charles Platt (Colorado Springs, Colorado) won bronze.

University of Utah pistol shooter Lagan would claim the gold in Women’s Air Pistol event over 2012 Olympian Sandra Uptagrafft (Phenix City, Alabama) who won silver and 2008 Olympian Brenda Silva (Snowflake, Arizona) who won bronze. Lagan shot six points higher than her nearest competitor on the first day of competition, giving her enough of a lead to hold off the rest of the field.

In the Junior competition, Sarah Choe (Los Angeles, California) won the gold medal, Katelyn Abeln (Douglasville, Georgia) won silver and Kellie Foster (Rockdale, Texas) won bronze.

Also occurring during this year’s Nationals is an International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Grand Prix with Paralympic shooters from nine countries in attendance. 2016 U.S. Paralympic Team nominee John Joss (USAMU/Corsicana, Texas) won gold in the event he’ll shoot at the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – R6 (Mixed 50m Rifle Prone SH1).

In P1 (Men’s 10m Air Pistol SH1), 2016 U.S. Paralympic Team nominee Michael Tagliapietra (Fond du Lac, Wisconsin) finished fourth, Kerry Morris (Grand Prairie, Texas) finished fifth and Roosevelt Anderson (Chicago, Illinois) finished sixth.

In P2 (Women’s 10m Air Pistol SH1), Tricia Downing (Denver, Colorado) finished in third place.

This year’s USA Shooting National Championships runs through Wednesday and includes more than 300 athletes vying for National Team selections and – for some – preparing for the upcoming Olympic & Paralympic Games in Rio. The event includes two days of Qualification and one Final in all Olympic events.