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14 Highlights of 2014: USA Shooting’s Year In Review

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (December 18, 2014)

The world of competitive shooting is an environment in which there is no forgiveness for poor performance and where nothing but big results guarantees you a chance to stand among the best. With Rio coming into sight in 2014, the USA Shooting Team entered the 20-month gauntlet of Olympic and Paralympic qualifying with plenty of optimism, support and expectation.  As we approach 2015, we now know more about where we have to go and what it will take to get there. 

2016 Paralympic hopefuls McKenna Dahl and Mike Tagliapietra were among the highlights of 2014 after securing Paralympic quota spots at the International Paralympic Committee World Championships in July.The journey officially began with the July World Championship for Paralympic disciplines and a September World Championship and October continental championship for able-bodied. Rewards from those included five Olympic and two Paralympic quotas, 40 medals and four World Champions. 

Amidst all of that excitement was plenty more including seven selection matches, five National Championships (Rifle/Pistol, Shotgun, Rifle/Pistol Junior Olympic, Shotgun Junior Olympic and Progressive-Position Pistol) eight World Cup events and a Grand Prix.  As a result, there’s plenty of reason to both exhale and exalt as we look back on the year that was. To do so in its entirety, we urge you to check out the new USA Shooting News Year In Review issue that’s hot off the presses (http://content.yudu.com/A39lff/YearInReview2014/). But below, we’ve extracted 14 Highlights of 2014 just for you. Also, to view the USA Shooting images that defined 2014, click here: http://bit.ly/1ztS2jN 

    • OLYMPIC QUOTAS: By winning the World Championships, Josh Richmond and Brandy Drozd earned the first two Olympic quotas in 2014 in the shotgun disciplines of Double Trap and Women’s Skeet. Two-time Olympic skeet champion Vincent Hancock earned a third Olympic quota in shotgun after winning the Championship of the Americas. At that same event, Will Brown and Dempster Christenson earned quotas in 10m Air Pistol and 10m Air Rifle.  
    • PARALYMPIC QUOTAS: Mike Tagliapietra and McKenna Dahl during July’s International Paralympic Committee Shooting World Championships. The emerging Paralympic program now has as many quotas as it did for the 2012 Paralympic Games in London with three more opportunities to come in 2015.
    • WORLD CHAMPIONS: Laying claim as the world’s best in 2014 were four standout athletes in Richmond, Drozd, Dania Vizzi and Alex Chichkov. Richmond became a two-time World Champ in Double Trap, while Drozd added to the depth in Women’s Skeet with a world title despite being junior in age. Vizzi and Chichkov both earned junior world titles in women’s skeet and pistol respectively.
    • SHOTGUN:  If 2014 success is any indication, the USA Shooting Team for Shotgun should be as proud as it has ever been.  At the World Championship, U.S. shotgun athletes provided the highlights by earning 11 medals with three World Champions, a Junior World Champs silver medalist in Ian Rupert and bronze medalist in Phillip Jungman, six other top-10 performers, six team medalists, and one world record (Junior Women’s Skeet Team). Additionally, there were 15 shotgun World Cup medals earned in 2014 including a dominating Munich World Cup performance in which the shotgun team gathered seven podium finishes and ended the season with Jeff Holguin being crowned World Cup Finals champion and Janessa Beaman finishing a successful with another silver medal.
    • DOUBLE TRAP: The elite Army Marksmanship combination of Glenn EllerHolguin and Richmond rarely visits any range in the world without prospecting some hardware and 2014 was no different with the trio earning five of the 12 World Cup medals handed out this season while earning a world title (Richmond), a national title (Eller) and winning World Cup Finals (Holguin).
    • KIM RHODE: After taking the year off from international competition in 2013 due to the birth of her son, Carter, Rhode jump started her run for six medals in six Olympic Games with a spectacular 2014 World Cup season that saw three World Cup medals, including two golds, in as many chances.
    • NICK MOWRER: The 2012 pistol Olympian became the first U.S. athlete to compete in a World Cup in two disciplines and did so by earning a World Cup bronze medal as a rifle athlete.
    • ALEX CHICHKOV: You want to know how you lift a program. You go out and win not one, but two, World titles in your sport and see what happens. That’s effectively what 20-year-old Alex Chichkov did at the World Championship with a performance for the ages. The top individual performance in Spain was engineered by a junior athlete in a discipline long in need of a standout performer. In winning world titles in both Sport and Standard Pistol, Chichkov became the first U.S. pistol athlete, open or junior, to ever win two World Championship titles at one event. 
    • YOUTH: The performance of USA Shooting’s young and emerging-elite athletes was a significant highlight of 2014. Showcasing their rise to prominence during 2014 were World Champ medalists Drozd, Chichkov, Vizzi, Rupert, Jungman and Katie Bridges and a world-record team performance by the Junior Women’s Skeet team of Vizzi, Hannah Houston and Sydney Carson along with standout performances from Lorelie Stanfield and Mindy Miles. Additionally, a Junior Team contingent numbering 15 athletes earned seven medals as well at a Junior Cup in Suhl, Germany, including three gold, two silver and two bronze along with 11 top-seven performances.
    • DAVID F. RIDENOUR FINALS HALL: USA Shooting honored the late David F. Ridenour with a Finals Hall Range dedication during April’s National Junior Olympic Shooting Championships (NJOSC). The Finals Range was a special gift provided to USA Shooting by the Ridenour family in memory of David, who made a name for himself in the rifle events during the early 80s. The completion of the David F. Ridenour Finals Range was another addition to a significant number of improvements made to the USA Shooting Complex since late 2013.
    • JAKE WALLACE:  The growth of this trap shooter who earned his first national title in 2014 was most evident at the Championship of the Americas. Wallace equaled the world record qualifying score of 125 with a perfect performance. The score was the first 125/125 recorded in international competition in 16 years when Lance Bade equaled that mark during the 1998 World Championships in Barcelona, Spain.
    • COMPETITION: The effectiveness of the USA Shooting Team can only be as good as the competition it hosts to select and prepare athletes for international competition. USA Shooting hosted three World Cups and 13 National events while hosting a competition at a new place, the Delta Resort & Spa in Tillar, Arkansas. Participation was up 18 percent at Rifle/Pistol Nationals and 36 percent at Shotgun Junior Olympics while record numbers attended the recent Winter Airgun Championships.
    • THE “U” IN USA SHOOTING: Direct Marketing efforts helped generate over $600K in revenue in 2014, the second most ever with 6,075 new donors and 47,000 total gifts. USA Shooting Team athletes will benefit from the $250,000 raised as part of the inaugural National Sporting Clay Cup, July 10-12, at the American Shooting Center in Houston, Texas.  The national fundraiser, chaired by USA Shooting Board member and Vice President Butch Eller, was the first major philanthropic push on behalf of a team that has one enthusiastic goal in mind: medal success in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
    • YOUTH DEVELOPMENT/COACH EDUCATION: Successfully hosted five junior development camps, three coach clinics, a Level 3 coach school (rifle and pistol) and three competitions …Hosted the first USAS All Women Coaches Clinic and the first High School/Collegiate Coaches Clinic with 37 participants…Hosted the first ACUI/BJ McDaniel Collegiate Shotgun Development Camp with 40 collegiate shotgun athletes and two collegiate coaches participating and the largest junior shotgun development camp on record…Hosted the first Sport Pistol development camp for the Scholastic Pistol Program/SSSF with seven athletes and four coaches…Conducted the PPP (dual venue) National Championships and recorded highest participation for the second year in a row (132).  Added two new rifle/pistol USA Shooting Certified Training Centers (CTCs) including Michigan State University/Demmer Shooting Center in East Lansing, Michigan and the West Seattle Sportsman’s Club bringing the USA Shooting network to 18 CTCs.
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