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Golden Rhode Again; U.S. Places 3 in Top-6 in Women's Skeet

ACAPULCO, Mexico (March 8, 2015)

On International Women’s Day, it was an American shotgun trio who turned the celebration into a mostly all-American affair for the fourth time during the 2015 International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup Series season opener in Acapulco, Mexico. 

The trio of Kim Rhode, Caitlin Connor and Morgan Craft represented 50 percent of the women’s skeet final and walked away with the top two podium spots, a sixth-place result and an Olympic country quota. It was the second time in four events that all three American shooters made finals following the performance of the Men’s Double Trap team that started the trend Thursday.  Through four events in Mexico, the USA Shooting Team has earned five medals, nine top-6 finishes and three Olympic quotas with Men's Skeet still to go on Monday.  

Five-time Olympic medalist and current Olympic Champion Rhode (El Monte, California) was her usual stellar self on her way to victory. She’s competed in four World Cups since a London Olympic gold and the birth of her son and she’s won three of them and finished in third in the other.  Rhode qualified for the semifinal with 72 targets, and then finished atop of the board making it into the gold-medal match with a perfect score of 16 hits out of 16 targets.

Rhode joins teammates Corey Cogdell-Unrein (Eagle River, Alaska) and Jeff Holguin (Yorba Linda, California) as those USA Shooting athletes climbing to the top of the podium in the year's first World Cup event.   

Connor (Winnfield, Louisiana) faced-off against Rhode in the all USA final but would have to settle for her third career World Cup silver medal. Her strong performance denotes an even stronger American women’s skeet presence, as the Louisiana native was on the podium for the first time since 2011.  Connor, who shot 72 in qualification, would connect on 13/16 targets versus Rhode, but it wouldn’t be enough against Rhode’s one miss.

Current National Champion Craft (Muncy Valley, Pennsylvania) was also great ensuring all three Americans made the event finals for the second time in Acapulco after enduring a four-person shoot-off to get into the final six after shooting a 70 in qualification.  She’d fall in a three-person shoot-off after the semifinals for a chance in the bronze-medal match. 

The U.S. performance helped secure an Olympic quota in the event and the U.S. has now achieved the maximum number of Olympic slots available per country in this event (2 quotas), with Brandy Drozd having already secured one at the 2014 ISSF World Championship in Granada as the world champion. With these four women, plus Junior World Champion Dania Vizzi, seven-time World Cup medalist Haley Dunn (Eddyville, Iowa) and a strong junior team, the toughest test for this American contingent will be earning a spot to compete in the Olympic Games.     

To watch the women’s skeet final, click here.

The U.S. Men’s skeet team also took to the range Sunday, completing their first two of five rounds.  Two-time Olympic gold medalist Vincent Hancock (Eatonton, Georgia) is one of four competitors ending their day with a perfect 50/50 score.  Frank Thompson (Alliance, Nebraska), a 2012 Olympian, is just one off the pace after posting a 49. Dustin Perry (Lovelady, Texas) was ran his first round, but then struggled with a 21 during the second round, which puts him way back in 50th despite just four targets missed.

Having already picked up an Olympic quota in 2014, Hancock is eyeing medals as he readies himself for another Olympic run.  “I’m looking forward to this year as a stepping stone towards another gold in Rio,” said Hancock. “I’m trying to make the Rio team off of the points system rather than the selection process, so I really want to do my best and bring home a few golds from this year’s World Cups and World Championship.” 

Categories: Press Releases, World Cup 2015
National Shooting Sports Foundation