Emmons, Hall, Gray and Scherer Receive 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Nominations for Air Rifle
PORT CLINTON, Ohio (February 26, 2012)
Four athletes took the next step to achieving their Olympic dreams on Sunday in Men’s and Women’s 10m Air Rifle. From Anniston, Ala., in December to this weekend’s match in Port Clinton, Ohio, these four athletes conquered the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Airgun. The Trials are still in progress with the Men’s 10m Air Pistol nominees to be announced later today.
The Men’s 10m Air Rifle nominees are two-time Olympic medalist Matt Emmons (Browns Mills, N.J.) and 2011 Pan American Games silver medalist Jonathan Hall (Carrollton, Ga.). Emmons added another event to his Olympic program in London. Emmons, already nominated for Men’s 50m Rifle Three Position, led the selection with a total of 2587.7 points.
“I’m happy to earn another nomination to the team and shoot another event at the Olympics,” said Emmons. “At the same time, I know the scores that I shot throughout Trials are not going to be competitive at the Games and I know what I need to do to get there.”
Hall, who has been on the outside looking in, broke through the past two days to finish with 2586.7 total points and earned a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team. Hall is a senior at Columbus State University in Columbus, Ga., majoring in business management. The third of four brothers who also shoot, Hall finished third in the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Airgun and is elated to have earned a nomination to the Team this year.
“It’s a relief and an exciting moment. I’ve been working towards this my whole life—it’s been my main goal,” said Hall. “It’s weird to go from a very stressful situation to one of extreme relief and comfort. This is just the next step on the staircase and I’m not on the floor that I want to be at—London’s next.”
In Women’s 10m Air Rifle, 21-year-old Sarah Scherer (Woburn, Mass.) and 2008 Olympian Jamie Gray (Lebanon, Pa.) received nominations to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team. Scherer is now the second member of her family to earn an Olympic berth. Scherer’s brother, Stephen, was a member of the 2008 Team, and passed away in 2011.
“Honestly, thank you Lord. Without him I could not have made it through this match,” said Scherer who battled a severe head cold throughout the weekend. “The only thing that I had left in my shooting that was still me was my focus and concentration. I couldn’t hear or see as well as normal and my heart rate was all over the place. My body was shaky and I’m just so thankful that I made it through.”
Scherer, a junior at Texas Christian University (TCU), will be shooting with the TCU Horned Frogs for the NCAA Rifle Championships later in March. Following NCAAs, Scherer will join other nominated members of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team and hopefuls in the “London Prepares” event on the 2012 Olympic ranges in April.
Gray, already nominated to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team for Women’s 50m Rifle Three Position, garnered her second start for the shooting events in London. “I had to come from behind, but I had a good day today, performed how I wanted to and it turned out okay. I’m looking forward to shooting two events.” Gray, the wife of U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) Staff Sergeant Hank Gray, will continue her training at the USAMU’s ranges in Fort Benning, Ga., as well as the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.
“The Trials are always a very dramatic event in the quad,” said National Rifle Coach Major Dave Johnson. “The top men and women fought it out until the very end and unfortunately we can only take two in each air rifle event. Our nominees are very strong and we have time to work on final preparations between now and the Olympic Games and I think we will compete very well there.”
In airgun, male and female competitors shoot 60 and 40 shots respectively during a single course of fire at electronic targets 10m (32.8 feet) down range. The maximum number of points available is 600 for men and 400 points for women with 10 being the highest score possible per shot. Male competitors are given 1 hour and 45 minutes, whereas female competitors have 1 hour and 15 minutes to complete all shots. Athletes then qualify for the finals by placing in the top eight after an aggregate match score.
The final for both events consists of ten shots fired on command by the Chief Range Officer. The scoring in the finals is unique from the rest of the match because decimals are counted, so the maximum number of points a competitor can earn is 109 points with 10.9 being the highest score possible per shot. Olympic Team selection is based on the aggregate of four courses of fire and two best finals.
The U.S. Olympic Team Trials for all sports is a collaborative, three-way partnership between the U.S. Olympic Committee, the national governing bodies and the local organizing committees. All athletes nominated to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team must be approved by the U.S. Olympic Committee.