Colorado Springs, CO -(AmmoLand.com)- With just two of seven Olympians competing at the 2016 USA Shooting National Championships for Shotgun, there’s definitely 2020 vision in mind for the more than 240 competitors looking for hardware during the eight-day event that kicked off Monday morning with Trap competition.
Women’s Trap Olympian Corey Cogdell-Unrein (Eagle River, Alaska) and Double Trap Olympian Glenn Eller (Houston, Texas) are looking to hone their game ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games. Their five other teammates chose not to participate, opting instead to ramp-up to Rio with intensive training sessions instead. Their absence leaves the door wide open for others to grab the spotlight with plenty of thrilling competition still expected.
One course of fire plus a final from Nationals is being used as part one of the selection process to determine athletes for 2017 International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup competition in New Delhi, India, Acapulco, Mexico and Larnaca, Cyprus. A cumulative score that includes two additional courses of final and two Finals from the 2016 Fall Selection Match, September 23-October 2, will ultimately determine final World Cup selection for 2017. The road to earning a 2016 National medal includes 250 targets plus a final in Skeet and Trap and 300 targets and a final in Double Trap.
Cogdell-Unrein headlines a women’s trap competition that features the top-six Olympic Trials finishers including Ashley Carroll (Solvang, California), Janessa Beaman (Colorado Springs, Colorado), Kayle Browning Thomas (Wooster, Arkansas), Kimberley Bowers (Lafayette, California) and Cheyenne Waldrop (Forest Hill, California). Also, look out for 2016 Junior Olympic medalists including champion Emily Underwood (Quitman, Arkansas), silver medalist Grace Hambuchen (Maumelle, Arkansas) and bronze medalist Stephanie Gutierrez (Valencia, California).
Action Monday saw Cogdell-Unrein and Carroll both hit 72/75 targets in qualifying to take the lead. Both would advance to the gold-medal match as part World Cup Selection Final. Cogdell-Unrein would crush all 15 targets to edge Carroll, 15-13. Bowers was third after defeating Browning Thomas in the bronze-medal match. Twenty-two women are within 10 targets of the leaders.
The top-three finishers from the recent Spring Selection Match in Men’s Trap are among those that will be vying for a national title including champion Ryne Barfield (Poulan, Georgia), silver medalist Seth Inman (U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit/Lexington, Missouri), and bronze medalist Myles Walker (Elkhorn, Wisconsin). Also, National Team members Dustin McGowen (Greenwood, Arkansas) and Jake Wallace (Castaic, California) along with former National Team member Collin Wietfeldt (Hemlock, Michigan) will look to make some noise over the four-day event. Look for Junior Olympic champion Travis Old (Texarkana, Texas) to try and assert himself into the Nationals conversation as well.
Monday’s results show Colorado native Shane Herman (Peyton, Colorado) on top of the leaderboard with a three round score of 73/75. Four others are just one off the pace including McGowen, Austin Odom (USAMU/Benton, Arkansas), 16-year-old Mick Wertz (Muncy, Pennsylvania), and Michael Flores (Sacramento, California). Five additional competitors sit two targets back.
Despite the lack of Olympians Kim Rhode and Morgan Craft and a limited field, there’s still plenty of firepower in Women’s Skeet including the past two National Champions in defending champ Caitlin Connor (Winnfield, Louisiana) and 2014 National Champion Amber English (Colorado Springs, Colorado). Add in seven-time World Cup medalist Haley Dunn (Eddyville, Iowa), 2016 World Cup Cyprus bronze medalist Katie Jacob (Rochester, Michigan) and three-time Junior World Championships medalist Dania Vizzi (Odessa, Florida) and there’s not much degree of separation.
With the absence of Olympians Vincent Hancock and Frank Thompson, it’s a wide-open contest in Men’s Skeet but the U.S. Army Marksmanship duo of Hayden Stewart (Columbia, Tennessee) and Mark Staffen (Lewis Center, Ohio) will likely be in the mix given their recent performance during Olympic Trials and Spring Selection. Stewart was third overall during the two-part Olympic Trials process, while Staffen was top finisher during Spring Selection. Phillip Jungman (Caldwell, Texas) is poised for a run at a National Title having been the Junior National Champion the past two years and finishing second to Thompson in the Olympic Trials process. Junior Olympic Champion Trey Wright (Albany, Georgia) will be looking to earn some more national medals this summer as well.
Men’s Double Trap features Eller along with USAMU teammates in reigning National Champion Derek Haldeman (Sunbury, Ohio) and 2008 Olympian Jeff Holguin (Yorba Linda, California). Last year’s open bronze medalist and National Junior Champion Dale Royer (Jackson, Montana) along with 2016 Junior Olympic Champion Hank Garvey (Newburyport, Massachusetts) will also be in consideration for top national honors.
Competition continues through Thursday with Men’s and Women’s Trap, followed by Double Trap Saturday and Sunday and Men’s and Women’s Skeet starting Saturday as well and concluding Tuesday.
2016 National Championship for Shotgun Results.
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.