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Spurgeon, Beard, Brown & Anthony Emerge Victorious during Part I of U.S. Olympic Team Trials

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (December 06, 2015)

The top-four finishes in each of the four Airgun disciplines. Top right, Will Brown. Bottom right, Sarah Beard.  Bottom Left, Courtney Anthony. Middle Left, Garrett Spurgeon.All the proof of what’s great about the shooting sports was on display during part one of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Airgun taking place at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, December 4-6.  

From it, much was learned including the strength of USA Shooting’s junior and collegiate athletes, the mettle of its original quota winners in Women’s Air Rifle and Men’s Air Pistol along with the feeling that comes when more than 400 athletes gather to compete in the sport they love.  

Over 430 athletes competed at the event formally known as the Winter Airgun Championships with five total Olympic spots available including two in Men’s Air Rifle and one each in Women’s Air Rifle, Men’s Air Pistol and Women’s Air Pistol.    

The two-part Olympic Trials included three straight days of competition featuring three qualifiers and three separate finals.  Each day’s qualifying scores and points from the event finals were added to each competitor’s score to get a cumulative total. The top-10 participants in each discipline now advance to the final stage of Airgun Team Trials next June where five Olympic spots will be determined using three qualification rounds plus three finals.  The results do not carry over and no Team spots were secured during the first stage of these Olympic Team Trials.  

Below are the recaps for each of the four Airgun competitions.  

Men’s Air Rifle 

Three collegiate competitors showcased their airgun skills with West Virginia senior Garrett Spurgeon (Canton, Missouri) moving to the head of class this round.  Spurgeon’s consistency and two second-place finishes in the finals helped earn him an 8.7 point margin of victory.  

“I feel pretty good considering I came into this weekend off a couple lows from some of our recent NCAA matches,” Spurgeon said.  “Really my goal coming in was to get back up to where I’m capable of being and be more consistent, and I showed I could do that.  Going to the Olympics is a dream of every shooter, so to be in the position I am right now is very special.” 

North Carolina State junior Lucas Kozeniesky (Fairfax, Virginia) established a name for himself at this event.  He finished second overall and also claimed top junior honors behind three finals victories.  

Despite not making the day three final, Murray State sophomore Ivan Roe (Manhattan, Montana) still was good enough to earn the third overall ranking. Murray State was predominate fixture in Men’s Air Rifle with Roe finishing second among juniors with teammate Ben Estes (Ozark, Missouri) sitting in third after making the Open final on the last day, finishing third. 

Overall, the performances were down from where they need to be with the Olympic Games in sight with no athlete earning USA Shooting’s Performance Standard Score (PSS) of 625, which is the perceived score needed to make a World Cup final based on average scores calculated over the past two years .  Two Olympic spots are available in Men’s Air Rifle. 

Men’s Open Air Rifle Top-10 

1

SPURGEON

Garrett

1885.6

2

KOZENIESKY

Lucas

1876.9

3

ROE

Ivan

1874.1

4

ANDERSON

Ryan

1870.9

5

WALLIZER

Bryant

1870.3

6

LOWE

Daniel

1869.7

7

CHRISTENSON

Dempster

1867.0

8

CSENGE

Thomas

1865.3

9

NORTON

George

1863.3

10

RAWLINGS

Matthew

1859.4

 

Women’s Air Rifle 

Quota earner Sarah Beard (Danville, Indiana) earned a 1.9 point win after the event’s best competitive battle.  The comeback of Olympian Sarah Scherer (Woburn, Massachusetts) helped amp up the intensity along with several top junior performers.  Scherer actually won two of the three finals, but Beard had the top overall qualifying score and finished first, second and third in each of three finals.   

“I’m exhausted, but very excited.  It was a really good match and I was happy to see a lot of really good scores posted by several different people.  It’s always good when the competition is pretty intense because you always have be mentally into it.  If you let your guard down once, you might get eaten alive.  This match has helped me to understand how to take the good shots with the bad shots. I still have a long ways to go to where I feel I can compete and earn an Olympic medal.”  

Seventeen-year-old Rhiann Travis (Poolville, Texas) was a consistent force throughout having earned the top qualifying score on two of the days to ensure her the third-place position.  Those marks led her to a dominating win in the junior division as well with 14.9 points separating her from second-place finisher Mindy Miles (Weatherford, Texas) , aided by three finals wins as well.  Virginia Thrasher (Springfield, Virginia) was third.  

Seven PSS scores of 417 or greater were posted in the discipline. 

Women’s Open Air Rifle Top-10 

1

BEARD

Sarah

1273.6

2

SCHERER

Sarah

1271.7

3

TRAVIS

Rhiann

1262.1

4

CARPENTIER

Meredith

1256.3

5

MILES

Minden

1254.2

6

THRASHER

Virginia

1248.9

7

MADDALENA

Sagen

1247.1

8

BLACK

Hannah

1245.3

9

WEISZ

Alison

1242.1

10

CARR

Hanna

1241.5

 

Men’s Air Pistol 

The big score Will Brown (Twin Falls, Idaho) was seeking finally came on the event’s final day and it meant a robust 17-point degree of separation between him and his nearest competitor for this event. A world-class qualifying score of 587 was ultimately the biggest difference in this match.  Winning all three finals didn’t hurt either. His qualifying total on the last day was 11 points better than his nearest competitor.   

The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit’s James Henderson (Midland, Georgia) finished second followed by Jay Shi (Phoenix, Arizona).  

The junior division also showcased one dominant individual with Jack Leverett III (Bainbridge, Georgia) earning a 17-point margin of victory.  Wyatt Brown (Twin Falls, Idaho) finished second followed by Charles Platt (Colorado Springs, Colorado) in third.   

Men’s Open Air Pistol Top-10 

1

BROWN

Will

1757

2

HENDERSON

James

1740

3

SHI

Jay

1736

4

BEAMAN

Brian

1730

5

MOWRER

Nick

1730

6

CHICHKOV

Alexander

1710

7

HALL

James

1709

8

LUTZ

Stephen

1707

9

MARKOWSKI

Greg

1704

10

OWSLEY

Cody

1697

 

Women’s Air Pistol 

The smallest gap for any top finisher resided in Women’s Air Pistol.  Courtney Anthony (Lexington, Nebraska) tied for the top qualifying score all three days and managed two silver medals in the three finals to earn a one-point victory over Alexis Lagan (Salt Lake City, Utah).  Lydia Paterson (Kansas City, Kansas) earned the lone quota spot in this event, but struggled the first two days before rounding into form on the event’s final day by tying with Anthony for the high qualifying score and winning the final.  She finished 10 points back of Anthony.  Olympian Brenda Silva (Snowflake, Arizona) won two of three finals to ensure her fourth place position, but still was 24 points out of first place.  

“This match had its ups and downs, but I think I learned a little bit of what I need to work on, but it’s been good overall,” Anthony said. My elbow’s feeling it a little bit after the three days, but not enough to stop! Finals have been my weak point in this competition. I’ve trained so much in a match situation, in that, I can keep myself relaxed. I’m finding that in Finals, the heart rate goes up and things get a little shakier and I’m going to try and fix that.”  

Based on a third day qualifying score 16 points higher than her nearest competitor, Paterson won the junior competition by 10 points over Taylor Gallegos (Prosper, Texas).  Gallegos was strong throughout while earning two finals wins and a silver medal.  Thirteen-year-old Carson Saabye (Larkspur, Colorado) finished third among juniors.  

Highlights from USA Shooting's Paralympic competitors included rifle shooter McKenna Dahl (Arlington, Washington) setting two personal bests over the weekend, actual world-class scores that would likely ensure her reaching a final in most World Cup events. Rifle shooters John Arbino (Williamsburg, Virginia) and Tammy Delano (Rome, New York) also had personal bests on day one in their respective disciplines.   

Women’s Open Air Pistol Top-10  

1

ANTHONY

Courtney

1157

2

LAGAN

Alexis

1156

3

PATERSON

Lydia

1147

4

SILVA

Brenda

1133

5

CHAMBERS

Teresa

1107

6

GALLEGOS

Taylor

1105

7

GRANADOS GOMEZ

Nathalia

1104

8

FRYER

Stephanie

1101

9

BROWN

Susan

1100

10

SAABYE

Carson

1096

 

Highlights from USA Shooting's Paralympic competitors included rifle shooter McKenna Dahl (Arlington, Washington) setting two personal bests over the weekend, actual world-class scores that would likely ensure her reaching a final in most World Cup events. Rifle shooters John Arbino (Williamsburg, Virginia) and Tammy Delano (Rome, New York) also had personal bests on Day 1 in their respective disciplines.  

For Results: http://www.usashooting.org/library/2015_WAG_Day_3_Results_Final.pdf  

For Day 3 Photos: https://flic.kr/s/aHskqqQUWL

Categories: Press Releases, 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials -- Airgun Rifle & Pistol
National Shooting Sports Foundation