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Rhode, Hancock Highlight World Champ Roster in Skeet as Spring Selection Concludes

FORT BENNING, Georgia (April 17, 2015)

Reigning Olympic gold medalists Kim Rhode and Vincent Hancock were the Selection Match leaders.Having missed out on the robust medal performance put forth by USA Shooting’s Shotgun Team at the 2014 World Shooting Championships, Kim Rhode and Vincent Hancock assured themselves another opportunity later this year by dominating Selection Match performances. Those two highlight the additional six athletes named to the team for World Cup Azerbaijan and the World Championships on the final day of USA Shooting’s Spring Selection Match at the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) in Fort Benning, Georgia.

Joining them will be Caitlin Connor (Winnfield, Louisiana) and Morgan Craft (Muncy Valley, California) on the women’s side, the same team that has competed in this year’s first two World Cups.  Joining Hancock on the men’s side are a couple of Texas natives in second-place finisher TJ Bayer (College Station, Texas) and Dustin Perry (Lovelady, Texas).  

The results from this match were combined with the results from the 2014 Shotgun Fall Selection Match held in Tillar, Arkansas to determine open team selections for World Cup Azerbaijan and the World Championships for Shotgun later this year. Junior Team selections for World Championships will be based on combined results from this summer’s National Junior Olympic Shooting Championships and National Championships.

Both Rhode (El Monte, California) and Hancock (Eatonton, Georgia) were dominant in Benning, taking four-point leads from Fall Selection and extending that this week. Rhode, by virtue of four-straight Finals victories leading to an additional 20 points being added to her qualification scores, topped Connor by 11 points total. Connor finished second to Rhode on both Finals days during Spring Selection. Craft would edge Amber English (Colorado Springs, Colorado) by five points with Haley Dunn (Eddyville, Iowa), World Champion Brandy Drozd (Bryan, Texas) and Junior World Champion Dania Vizzi (Odessa, Florida) rounding out the top seven finishers.

Hancock had finals’ finishes of first, second while finishing third twice and had 10 misses over 250 qualifying targets. Bayer switched places with his Texas A&M Aggie brethren Perry from Fall Selection, to earn the second spot by one point.  Home-range advantage suited Hayden Stewart (USAMU/Columbia, Tennessee) who rebounded nicely from a problematic Fall Selection Match to finish second behind Hancock in this particular event and move up to ninth place overall.  Stewart was 28 targets better in qualification this time around and won Friday’s final over Dustan Taylor (Staley, North Carolina). Taylor would finish sixth overall behind Mark Weeks (USAMU/Clinton Township, Michigan) and 2012 Olympian Frank Thompson (Alliance, Nebraska).

Having wrapped up their quota allotment already, the three U.S. women are in fierce competition for individual points that can now automatically qualify them for Olympic nomination based upon World Cup and World Championship performance. Having earned a spot in two Finals including a silver medal in Acapulco, Connorhas a slight two-point edge on Rhode, 19-17. Rhode earned gold in Acapulco and then seventh in Al Ain, UAE. More information on the Olympic Points System for Shotgun can be found on page 13 of Athlete Selection Procedures for the 2016 Olympic Games.  The U.S. Men’s Skeet squad is still after one additional Olympic quota. Hancock earned won with his win at the Acapulco World Cup back in early March. 

The nation’s finest shotgun athletes will now ready for another World Cup that kicks off with Men’s and Women’s Skeet on Sunday, April 26 in Lanarca, Cyprus. 

For Spring Selection results, click here. For Full Selection results for World Cup Azerbaijan and the World Championships Open Team including four qualification matches and four finals click here.

2015 World Cup Azerbaijan & World Championship Team Members

M/W Skeet

*Vincent Hancock (Eatonton, Georgia)

TJ Bayer (College Station, Texas)

*Dustin Perry (Lovelady, Texas)

*Kim Rhode (El Monte, California)

*Caitlin Connor (Winnfield, Louisiana)

*Morgan Craft (Muncy Valley, Pennsylvania)

Double Trap

*Glenn Eller (USAMU/Houston, Texas)

*Derek Haldeman (USAMU/Sunbury, Ohio)

Chris Wilkoski (Centerburg, Ohio)

M/W Trap

Myles Walker (Elkhorn, Wisconsin)

*Jake Wallace (Castaic, California)

Anthony Matarese (Pennsville, New Jersey)

*Kayle Browning (Wooster, Arkansas)

*Corey Cogdell Unrein(Eagle River, Alaska)

*Kimberley Bowers (Lafayette, California)

*Athletes that were part of the World Cup roster for Acapulco and Al Ain, UAE and that will compete in Cyprus as well along with Frank Thompson (skeet/Alliance, Nebraska), Jeff Holguin (double trap/Yorba Linda, California), Collin Wietfeldt (trap/Hemlock, Michigan) and Brian Burrows (Fallbrook, California). 

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