COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado - The final nine athletes to earn berths on the U.S. team that will compete in the World Championship for Shotgun next month were selected today at the USA Shooting National Championships for Shotgun in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Braving stiff competition and heavy rain, athletes had to weather a three-part Selection Match that began last Fall in Kerrville, Texas, included a stop in Fort Benning, Georgia and came to a rousing conclusion at the International Shooting Park just south of Colorado Springs today. The nine Skeet athletes earning team nods will now compete at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Championship for Shotgun August 30 – September 11 in Moscow, Russia. The three Women's Skeet team members were nominated yesterday and twelve Trap athletes were previously chosen to kick-off these National Championships. Women's Skeet Selection Story
| Women's Trap Selection Story
| Men's Trap & Jr. Women's Trap Selection Story
Earning the three team slots in Men's Skeet were Hayden Stewart (U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit/Columbia, Tennessee), Christian Elliott (USAMU/Greenwood, Indiana) and two-time Olympian Frank Thompson (Alliance, Nebraska).
Stewart entered today's Final with a four-point lead on Elliott, as well as their USAMU teammate Dustan Taylor (Carey, North Carolina). Though Elliott's win in today's Final and Stewart's second-place finish punched their tickets to Moscow, the third position overall on the Team would be determined by a shootoff between Taylor and Thompson - Thompson's third-place finish in the Final garnered him enough points to tie Taylor overall.
Once in the shootoff, Taylor and Thompson were tied through 45 targets, until Taylor would drop his 46th. Though he'd hit the rest of the targets in the round, Thompson was perfect for the two rounds and 50 targets to earn that third team slot to Russia.
"If I could have just hit my three station eights, that could have made things a little better," Thompson joked after his grueling, 50-target shootoff. "I knew I was going into a shootoff after the Final. I knew I had to be three places ahead of either Christian or Dustan so when I got third, I was prepared for whatever, and things were just coming together better for me today anyway."
Earning team berth's in Women's Junior Skeet today were fifteen-year-old Austen Smith (Keller, Texas), Sam Simonton (Gainesville, Georgia) and Katie Jacob (Rochester, Michigan).
Though Smith was eliminated in fourth place in today's Final, her score of 243 led the field and she was able to lock down the top position. Finishing just one point behind was Simonton, and one point behind her Jacob.
"This is amazing," said Smith, who is coached by two-time Olympic gold medalist Vincent Hancock (Eatonton, Georgia). "I didn't expect anything like this - to make the world team - or any team to be completely honest. My goal was to just shoot the best I ever have!"
Jacob is the only Junior Skeet athlete who has competed at a World Championship. (Elliott, who is a Junior by age but made the Open Team for this match, also competed as a Junior in the World Championship in 2014 and 2015.) Jacob finished in sixth place at the 2015 World Championship.
Prior to today's Final in the Men's Junior Skeet World Championship Team selection, Nic Moschetti (Broomfield, Colorado) Eli Christman (Chattanooga, Tennessee) and Elijah Ellis (College Station, Texas) were tied at 246 targets apiece in the team selection process and had enough of a lead that solidified their team spots even before the Final began.
"It was exciting that I knew I'd be going to the World Championship with two, good buddies," Moschetti said. "I get to go to Italy to compete at the Junior World Cup next month so that will be a nice warmup - it's been since last May since I got to shoot overseas. Should be a great way to get me ready to shoot in Russia!"
Competition for National Championship titles in Skeet continues through Monday with an additional 125 targets and a Final to be contested.
On the Men's side, Stewart had another perfect day in National Championship competition, hitting all 50 targets today, as well as all 75 yesterday for a total of 125. Behind him in second place is Hancock with 124. There's currently a six-way tie for third place with 122 targets.
In the Women's National Championship race, Dania Vizzi (Odessa, Florida), who earned her trip to Russia yesterday, currently leads with 123 targets. Simonton is currently in second with 121, and Caitlin Connor (Winnfield, Louisiana), Sydney Carson (North Liberty, Indiana) and Smith are currently tied for third with 120 targets. Connor won the top spot in the Women's Skeet World Championship Team selection yesterday.
Complete results from World Championship selection and the rest of the USA Shooting National Championships for Shotgun: http://www.usashooting.org/library/Competitions/0_2017/SG_Natls/Results/Skeet_Day_2_Results.xlsx
For more information on the ISSF World Championship for Shotgun: http://www.wch2017russia.org/en/
Winchester small logoWinchester 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 three shotgun teams brought home a combined eight medals from Rio de Janeiro, 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 winchester.com.
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 usashooting.org and on Twitter at twitter.com/USAShooting
Jessica Delos Reyes