The wind, rain and cold conditions of London couldn't detract young Kayle Browning (Wooster, Ark.) from recording the top performance of her career Wednesday as the Arkansas native earned a bronze medal in Women's Trap during the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) "London Prepares" World Cup.
Browning advanced to the finals of the competition after connecting on 69 of 75 targets, good enough to tie her for the lead with two other competitors. The six finalists were greeted with some of the windiest conditions seen all week at the Royal Artillery Barracks, site of the 2012 Olympic Games and the low final scores reflected just how much havoc the 30-40mph winds can have as no finalist hit more than 20 of the 25 final targets. In Browning's first World Cup final, she recorded a 17 after posting scores of 24, 23 and 22 the past two days. Reports coming from London indicate how nervous the 19-year-old was as she was visibly shaking well after the finals contest.
"I felt good going into the final," said Browning. "But, I was extremely nervous because it was my first World Cup final. Just by getting to this position and fighting these conditions, I feel more confident in my ability and I'll be better prepared the next time."
To see photos of Browning competing from the London World Cup, click here.
Browning's performance provides a glimpse as to how intense next month's U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Shotgun will be in the Women's Trap event where Caitlin Barney Weinheimer (Kerrville, Texas) holds a six-target advantage over three other competitors that includes Browning, 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Corey Cogdell (Eagle River, Alaska) and Kelsey Zauhar (Lakeville, Minn.). Weinheimer finished one-target short of finals contention today in London while Cogdell, after winning the Tucson World Cup event in March, wasn't able to string together consistent scores in the soggy conditions and finished 23rd.
In Women's 3-position Rifle, Amy Sowash (Richmond, Ky.) was the highest U.S. finisher with a score of 574, which put her in 20th place. Jamie Beyerle (Lebanon, Pa.) finished in 30th position with a 569 while Sandy Fong (New York, N.Y.) finished 35th with 568 points out of a possible 600.
Friday's World Cup events will feature finals action in the Men's 25m Rapid Fire Pistol event as well as Men's Trap. Two-time Olympic medalist Matt Emmons (Browns Mills, N.J.) will begin competition in his signature event when Men's 3-position Rifle gets underway on Friday as well. Joining Emmons on the line will be three-time Olympian Jason Parker (USAMU/Columbus, Ga.) and Joe Hein (USAMU/Lansing, Mich.)
Emil Milev (Tampa, Fla.) sits in eighth place after the first round of the Rapid Fire Pistol event after scoring 291 points while Brad Balsey (USAMU/Uniontown, Pa.) and Keith Sanderson (WCAP/Colorado Springs, Colo.) recorded scores of 288 and 276.
At 70 targets hit through three rounds, Collin Weitfeldt (Hemlock, Mich.) is three targets off the pace set by an Italian and Croatian shooter. But amongst a pack of 19 competitors within three hits of the lead, Weitfeldt might have to out-perform the pace he's set thus far to make the final six. Teammates Ryan Hadden (USAMU/Pendleton, Ore.) and Jake Turner (Richland, Wash.) have hit 68 and 67 targets through three rounds of competition respectively.
With three competitions still to be decided, the USA Shooting Team has now recorded nine top-eight finishes to go along with three medals Browning joining bronze medalists Kim Rhode (women's skeet/El Monte, Calif.) and Michael McPhail (men's prone rifle/Darlington, Wis.).
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