Colorado Springs, CO - Dance or shoot, that's the complex decision that awaited 18-year-old Dania Vizzi (Odessa, Fla.) earlier this year. She chose the latter and her decision seemed to have paid off in a big way Tuesday, when she earned her way onto the podium of the 2013 World Championships as the silver medalist in the Women's Junior Skeet competition.
A gifted dancer who had pursued an opportunity for a bigger stage since the age of 3, Vizzi had been accepted to the Juilliard Dance Intensive, arguably the world's most renowned dance school in New York City. But Vizzi holds another gift too in shooting clay targets with an uncanny precision and thus she chose the stage of gunpowder and lead and, at least today, the medal goes along with her recent results to vindicate that decision.
The 2013 ISSF Shotgun World Championship got underway Monday from the Captain FAP Josè Quinones Shooting Range in Lima, Peru, where 400 of the best shotgun shooters in the world are competing for the right to be crowned World Champion. Tuesday, two of the 10 new World Champions were crowned.
Vizzi is the first of what Team USA hopes is a strong medal haul in Lima with30 USA Shooting Team members participating. She finished just one target back of her pursuit for gold, falling to Jitka Petskova of Czech Republic. Chiara Di Marziantonio of Italy finished third.
A recent graduate of Tampa Catholic High School, Vizzi is currently a freshman at the University of Florida and is new member of the Gator Trap and Skeet Club. She earned top honors at the 2013 National Junior Olympic Shooting Championships as well earlier this summer.
To learn more about Vizzi, click here for an article written by Tampa Tribune staff writer Scott Purks: http://tbo.com/sports/preps/tc-grad-vizzi-always-cool-under-pressure-b82500330z1
Top junior performances at the World Championships have been a staple of the U.S. Team and Vizzi's silver medal marks the eighth time in 10 chances that the U.S. has earned a junior medal in women's skeet. Since 2010, U.S. junior teams competing at World Championships have been supported with the generous donations of the Dallas Safari Club (DSC). The DSC has provided USA Shooting with grant support for international competitions, generally to support our junior teams to World Championships (with the exception of 2012 where the grant monies went to the pre-Olympic training camp). This year, DSC approved a grant of $30,000 to support USA Shooting's Junior Shotgun Team in Peru. The additional support has paid off with junior team athletes accounting for eight individual and eight team medals during that time along with 20 top-10 finishes.
Vizzi's junior teammates Gayla Gregory (College Station, Texas) and Hannah Houston (Columbia, Tenn.) finished with identical scores of 59 to finish ninth and 10th respectively.
One bad round cost the U.S. Women in the Open Division. Haley Dunn (Muenster, Texas), who has a slew of World Championship medals on her impressive career resume, looked to be in line for another Tuesday before a final-round 21 derailed those hopes. She finished two targets out of a spot in the finals and finished 12th. Brandy Drozd (Bryan, Texas) finished with a three-round total of 69 for 16th place while Morgan Craft (Muncy Valley, Pa.) shot a 67 and was 25th overall. Christine Wenzel of Germany defeated Simona Scocchetti of Italy in the gold-medal final while Elena Allen of Great Britain earned the bronze after defeating Olga Panarina.
As a team, Dunn, Drozd and Craft finished fifth overall with Italy, Great Britain, Russia and Slovakia finishing ahead of the American trio.
London Olympian Frank Thompson (Alliance, Neb.) is in good position to earn a World Championships medal having missed just two targets through the first 75. He stands just one back of the overall leaders. Two-time World and Olympic Champion Vincent Hancock (Eatonton, Ga.) will have work to do in trying to capture an unprecedented third World title. He's missed four targets over three rounds and currently sits in 31st position. After missing seven targets in his first two rounds, T.J. Bayer (College Station, Texas) came back strong today to post one of the nine perfect (25) scores on the day. He's still well back, however, in 50th place.
On the Junior Men's side, both Phillip Jungman (Caldwell, Texas) and Nick Boerboon (Prior Lake, Minn.) are holding strong in their pursuit of a medal. Jungman is two off the pace in sixth position with a score of 72/75 while Boerboon shot a 71 and sits in eighth place. Luis "Taz" Gloria (Tucson, Ariz.) missed five targets in his round and dropped to 20th overall with a 66.
A medal tomorrow in men's skeet or team competition would provide Team USA their seventh individual medal since 2001 and the sixth team medal since 2000.
2013 World Clay Target Championships Upcoming Schedule
Wednesday, Sept. 18 - Men's & Jr. Men's Skeet 4th & 5th Rounds + Final
Friday, Sept. 20 - Men's Double Trap
Sunday, Sept. 22 - Tuesday, Sept. 24 - Men's & Women's Trap
For complete coverage of the 2013 World Clay Target Championships be sure to find USA Shooting on Twitter and/or Facebook. You can also follow the coverage of the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) on their webpage at: http://www.issf-sports.org
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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
Dallas Safari Club: An independent organization since 1982, DSC has become an international leader in conserving wildlife and wilderness lands, educating youth and the general public, and promoting and protecting the rights and interests of hunters worldwide. For more information on DSC, visit http://www.biggame.org
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. Check us out on the web at www.usashooting.org
and on Twitter at twitter.com/USAShooting
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