COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – Aeriel Skinner’s trip to the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup in Guadalajara, Mexico may come to be known as her “bronze age.” In just her second ISSF World Cup appearance, Skinner picked up another bronze medal today with her teammate Mick Wertz in the Trap Mixed Team event, one of the newly-minted Olympic shooting events.
For this World Cup novice duo, just getting to the Final was a learning experience. Thinking they had finished just one target shy of a spot in the Finals, one of the Australians stopped Wertz (Muncy, Pennsylvania) from getting on the bus back to the hotel and inform him that due to a scoring glitch in Qualification, he and Skinner needed to shootoff with the Australian team for the last spot in the Finals.
“We had to run to the shootoff!” Skinner said. “It was very stressful, but luckily they gave us a little time to pull it together. We went into sudden death, I was going to shoot first and Australia missed their first shot so we were in. But then there was a protest from one of the Spanish teams so we had to wait and wait. We didn’t know if we were going to go or not, but then they announced our names 30 minutes before the Final, just as we were walking to the field.”
Once in the Final, the duo got out to an early lead, missing just one target in the first 10. Skinner (Jackson, California) confessed she could feel the clock ticking down as teams were eliminated and felt like she was rushing her later passes. Wertz, 18, noted he was so nervous not only because this was his first World Cup Final - it was his first World Cup appearance.
“Aeriel started shooting and I had [National Team Coach Todd Graves] there trying to calm me down before I went out on the line,” Wertz said. “I shot my first five targets straight, which felt pretty good. But when I came back, Todd was trying to calm me down some more because when I stuck out my hand, I was shaking I was so nervous! This is my first World Cup! I may have dropped one or two in the Final, but it was a very, very exciting experience. You know, I didn’t realize until half way through my passes that Todd was talking to me about tractors to calm me down!”
“I was a lot less nervous than in the Women’s Final for sure,” Skinner said. She had also won bronze in the Women’s Trap event on Monday. “I know I’ve only been in one Final before, but I had a little more experience and knew how to handle the pressure better.”
Overall the duo would finish the Final with 34 hits. The Finnish team of Satu Makela-Nummela and Vesa Tonroos won gold and the Chinese team of Xinqui Zhang and Weidong He would take home the silver.
The other U.S. team of Ashely Carroll (Solvang, California) and Jake Wallace (Castaic, California) finished in eighth place overall, just one target out of a potential Finals berth with 138 hits.
Stage One of the Men’s Rapid Fire Pistol competition was also contested today withKeith Sanderson (Colorado Springs, Colorado) sitting in eighth place with a score of 289 points. Stage Two and Finals will take place later tomorrow, as will the Women’s Three-Position Rifle competition.
More than 400 athletes from 50 countries are competing at this ISSF World Cup in 15 medal events. This World Cup concludes on March 12. Complete results, schedule and start lists from the ISSF World Cup in Guadalajara are available here: http://www.issf-sports.org/competitions/venue.ashx?cshipid=2390.
*Photos courtesy of Heather Stallings
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