Furrer Jolts to Lead in 3P Olympic Race; Sanderson & Milev Showcase Expertise in Rapid Fire Pistol
FORT BENNING, Ga. (June 7, 2012)
In the pivotal second day of the Women’s Three-Position Rifle competition at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials for Shooting, Amanda Furrer (Spokane, Wash.) has set the pace to beat in the race for the lone Olympic spot still available in the event. Meanwhile, Keith Sanderson (WCAP/Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Emil Milev (Temple Terrace, Fla.) have asserted their dominance in the Men’s Rapid Fire Pistol Event and will look to lock up their Olympic nominations Friday.
Furrer shot the top qualifying score of 588 earlier today and backed it up with a strong 100.4 final to move ahead of yesterday’s top point-setter Sarah Scherer (Woburn, Mass.) in the overall results for Olympic qualification. Scherer in fact dropped down three places from the position she held yesterday at this time. The nominee in this event will have to showcase the consistency and pin-point accuracy over a grueling three-day stretch to ultimately book their ticket to London. Jamie Gray (Lebanon, Mass.) actually leads the overall event by one point over Furrer, but having already qualified for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team in the event, the results are more for bragging rights and preparation.
This race is far from decided, but with Furrer holding a 3.2 point lead on Amy Sowash (Richmond, Ky.) she’s in the driver’s seat heading into tomorrow’s final stage. Scherer is 5.1 points behind Furrer now after holding 3.2 point advantage after the first day. After shooting a 590 in qualifying yesterday, one point shy of Gray’s national record, Scherer struggled to make the final shooting 10 points lower on Thursday.
“The women are battling at a world-class level,” said USA Shooting National Rifle Coach Major Dave Johnson. “It's exciting and very encouraging to see. At this point, I wish we had more than two slots total.”
The nerves that were apparent in Men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol during the first day were no longer apparent in day two. In the battle for two Olympic spots in the event, Sergeant First Class Sanderson and Milev have put some distance between them and the rest of the field with an 11-point advantage over their next nearest competitors. Shooting 584 match points today, Sanderson has claimed the overall lead with one day remaining. Sanderson continued to be on-target with 18 points in the final and an aggregate score of 1190 points. Milev, a four-time Olympian and 1996 Olympic silver medalist, was three points behind Sanderson with 581 and 16 in the final for 1186 overall. Specialist Sean Ragay (USAMU/Columbus, Ga.) shot 572 points and has 1165 aggregate points.
Also competed on Thursday at the combined 2012 USA Shooting National Championships and 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Shooting was the first round of Men’s 10m Air Rifle with U.S. Olympic Training Center resident athlete Thomas Csenge (Colorado Springs, Colo.) taking top national honors with a 593 followed by Dempster Christenson (Sioux Falls, S.D.) with a 593. Jonathan Hall (Carrollton, Ga.) and Matt Emmons (Browns Mills, N.J.), the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team nominees in the event, scored 591 and 585 points respectively.
Sandra Uptagrafft (Phenix City, Ala.) also continued her hot streak in women’s pistol. Two days after making the Olympic Team for the first time in five tries, Uptagrafft was back on the firing line competing in the Women’s 10m Air Pistol. She leads all competitors with a 387 out of a possible 400 points. Junior competitor Alana Townsend (Kallispell, Mont.) shot well today with a 381 and finished second among the experienced field. Uptagrafft made her first Olympic Team in the smallbore (.22 caliber) event of 25m Pistol and will now get the opportunity to shoot Air Pistol as well in London.
Three more 2012 U.S. Olympic Team spots will be decided Friday with the conclusion of Women’s Three-Position Rifle and Men’s Free Pistol while 2012 National Titles will be on the line in Women’s Air Pistol and Men’s Air Rifle. After tomorrow, just one spot, Men’s Three-Position Rifle, will be left undecided on the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team for Shooting. Emmons has already qualified in the event but shooting to determine his teammate will be complete on Monday.