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Twenty-Five Athletes Named to 2015 U.S. Pan American Shooting Team

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (June 11, 2015)

Twenty-five USA Shooting Team athletes, including nine Olympians, will represent their country next month at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada, as team selections were announced today in coordination with the United States Olympic Committee.  

In Toronto, the U.S. contingent of sharpshooters will be focused on securing the 15 Olympic quotas still available.  A quota spot is essentially the entry ticket necessary for a country to compete in Olympic competition in a particular discipline. For more information on Olympic quotas, please read below.

Athletes were determined by a selection committee in rifle and pistol that weighed recent Selection Match and World Cup results.  In shotgun, athletes earned their nomination through a two-part selection match that determined participants for the Pan Am Games, an upcoming World Cup in Gabala, Azerbaijan and the 2015 Shotgun World Championships.   

The Pan American Games are the world’s third-largest international multi-sport Games featuring athletes from countries in the Americas. The first Pan Am Games were held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1951, and are held every four years. The 2015 Pan Am Games will be held in Toronto July 10-26. From July 12-19, shooting competition is at the Toronto International Trap & Skeet Club, located about an hour north of Toronto.

“We feel absolutely confident in the team that has been assembled and their ability to earn the quotas that are available,” said Dave Johnson, USA Shooting’s National Rifle Coach and Director of Operations. “Being selected to a Pan American Games Team and being a part of something bigger than the sport itself is a true honor and a privilege and I know our athletes will embrace this opportunity.  

“Choosing the team was very challenging,” Johnson added. “With a mandated team size of 25 athletes to fill the 30 possible slots, we had to prioritize filling the slots where quotas were still needed. Long term, this is best for the athletes as they hopefully will have the maximum amount of quotas available for Rio, which equals opportunities to make the Olympic Team.  Short term, this is a very painful process as several very good athletes that already have earned Rio quotas have to sit home for the Pan Am Games.” 

The 2015 U.S. Pan American Shooting Team is listed below.  More information and athlete quotes are provided later in the release. All team members are subject to approval by the United States Olympic Committee.

PAN AM RIFLE TEAM (9)

Men’s Prone:  Michael McPhail (USAMU/Darlington, Wisconsin); George Norton (USAMU/Salina, Kansas)

Men’s Three-Position:  Ryan Anderson (Wasilla, Alaska); George Norton (USAMU/Salina, Kansas)

Women’s Three-Position:  Amanda Furrer (Spokane, Washington); Hannah Black (Richmond, Virginia)

Men’s Air:  Connor Davis (Shelbyville, Kentucky); Bryant Wallizer (Little Orleans, Maryland)

Women’s Air:  Elizabeth Marsh (Searcy, Arkansas); Sarah Osborn (Hampton, Virginia)

Coach:  Tom Tamas

PAN AM PISTOL TEAM (8)

Men’s Air:  Nick Mowrer (Butte, Montana); Jay Shi (Phoenix, Arizona)

Women’s Air: Sandra Uptagrafft (Phenix City, Alabama); Courtney Anthony (Lexington, Nebraska)

Men’s Free: Nick Mowrer (Butte, Montana); Jason Turner (Rochester, New York)

Women’s Sport: Brenda Silva (Snowflake, Arizona); Sandra Uptagrafft (Phenix City, Alabama)

Men’s Rapid Fire: Brad Balsley (USAMU/Uniontown, Pennsylvania); Emil Milev (Temple Terrace, Florida)

Coach:  Sergey Luzov

PAN AM SHOTGUN TEAM (8)

Men’s Trap: Myles Walker (Elkhorn, Wisconsin); Jake Wallace (Castaic, California)

Women’s Trap: Kayle Browning (Wooster, Arkansas); Kimberley Bowers (Lafayette, California)

Men’s Double Trap: Glenn Eller (USAMU/Houston, Texas)

Men’s Skeet:  T.J. Bayer (College Station, Texas); Dustin Perry (Lovelady, Texas)

Women’s Skeet:  Kim Rhode (El Monte, California)

Coach:  Todd Graves

The USA Shooting Team has earned 15 of the 30 quotas (2 per 15 Olympic events) available in the three disciplines including Prone Rifle (2); Men’s Air Rifle (1); Women’s Air Rifle (1); Women’s Three-Position Rifle (1); Men’s Air Pistol (1); Men’s Free Pistol (1); Men's Rapid Fire Pistol (1); Women's Air Pistol (1); Men’s Double Trap (2); Women's Skeet (2); Men's Skeet (1); Women's Trap (1). The U.S. has yet to earn any quotas in Men’s Trap and Three-Position Rifle and Women's Sport Pistol. There will be a total of 20 Olympic quotas handed out at the Pan American Games with the winner earning that quota in 10 events and the top-two finishers in Men’s Air Rifle, Men’s Trap, Men’s Skeet, and both Women’s Rifle events.  If a quota place is achieved by an athlete who has already obtained a quota place in any other event, the quota place must be granted to the next highest-ranked athlete in that event.  The same rule applies when the NOC of an athlete has already obtained the maximum number of quota places in that event.

At the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, USA Shooting Team athletes earned 18 total medals – 10 gold, four silver and four bronze.  At both the 2003 and 2007 Pan American Games, the USA Shooting Team was also the top medal finisher with 22 medals. Over the past three Pan American Games, no other country has earned more than nine medals in the shooting competition.

PAN AM RIFLE TEAM

Headlining the rifle selection are 2012 Olympians Michael McPhail (Darlington, Wisconsin) and Amanda Furrer (Spokane, Washington), along with a pair of upstart teens in Elizabeth Marsh (Searcy, Arkansas) and Sarah Osborn (Hampton, Virginia).  McPhail, who represents the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU), was a Pan Am Games Champion in 2011 and Runner-Up in 2007. Having bested the world in the last two World Cup events in Prone, he’ll gain even more experience in Toronto with no quota at stake for the USA after him and three-time Olympic medalist Matt Emmons (Browns Mills, New Jersey) handled that chore earlier in this season. A 2007 Pan Am Games bronze medalist, Furrer recently moved back to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs and is focused on earning selection to her second Olympic Team and helping earn the second quota in Women’s Three-Position is the first step.  Named to the team on her 17th birthday, Marsh is one the young guns of the team and has emerged on the scene having swept both rifle events at the 2015 National Junior Olympic Championships and possesses the steely nerves, focus and work ethic that only enhance her prospects.  The youngest of the 25 U.S. team members named, 16-year-old Osborn represented the USA at the season-opening World Cup in Changwon, Korea, after finishing second at the 2014 Winter Airgun Championships.

“Representing the USA, whether it be for the Olympics, World Cups, or as an ambassador for my sport, is always an honor,” said Furrer. “I take great pride in being a United States athlete and look forward to competing in the Pan American Games. I plan to perform my best and bring home a medal for Team USA, as well as a quota slot to the 2016 Olympic Games for USA Shooting. I am ready to take on this challenge and am putting in the work both mentally and physically to get it done.”

PAN AM PISTOL TEAM

Headlining the pistol selection are five Olympians including Emil Milev (Temple Terrace, Florida), Sandra Uptagrafft (Phenix City, Alabama), Nick Mowrer (Butte, Montana), Jason Turner (Rochester, New York) and Brenda Silva (Snowflake, Arizona).  The 1996 Olympic silver medalist, Milev is seeking his sixth Olympic Team nomination and is looking to defend his 2011 Pan Am Games title. Competing at the Pan Am Games is nothing new to the veteran Uptagrafft, having now earned selection to her fifth team where she hopes to add to her four Pan Am medals in the two women’s events.  Mowrer is also double-qualified in Air and Free Pistol events, hoping to secure a quota spot for one of them. A three-time Olympian and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist in Air Pistol, Turner will shoot alongside Mowrer in the Free Pistol event. The 2008 Olympic bronze medalist A 2008 Olympian, Silva is the oldest member of the USA Shooting Team that will compete in Toronto at 53 years old. 

“I am excited and honored to be chosen to represent the United States in these Pan American Games,” said Uptagrafft. “It's quite a big responsibility to be entrusted with the mission of earning an Olympic country quota spot, but I look forward to this challenge. I have made some good friends on the Canadian Shooting Team, so am also looking forward to visiting with them in their home country.”

“It is an honor to participate in my second consecutive Pan Am Games,” said Milev. “My mission is to defend the title from four years ago and to bring home a quota for Rio. I plan to work hard on my shooting skills in the days leading up to my event in Toronto. I'm certain I'm on the right path, and with perseverance in my training and with the support of my coach Vladimir Chichkov, I will be able to accomplish my goals. I want to thank our national coach Sergey Luzov for his confidence in me.” 

PAN AM SHOTGUN TEAM

Five-time Olympic medalist Kim Rhode (El Monte, California) and four-time Olympian and 2008 Olympic gold medalist Glenn Eller (Houston, Texas) headline the Pan Am Shotgun Team along with reigning National Champions Jake Wallace (Castaic, California) and Dustin Perry (Lovelady, Texas).  

It seems nothing can slow Rhode’s pursuit of even more Olympic history as the only U.S. Olympian competing in an individual sport to earn five consecutive Olympic medals. Not even a baby, motherhood and the on-going health issues that have resulted ever since. Since giving birth to her son Carter in May 2013, she’s gone on to win three of the six World Cup events she’s participated in while earning a bronze in another.  

Eller will look to the Pan Am Games to regain the form that saw him win the World Championships and finish second at the World Cup Finals in 2013. He’s had five top-10 finishes since during international competition including a World Cup silver medal in 2014, but is still looking for the type of medal results and consistency he’s garnered throughout his illustrious career. 

Trap shooter Wallace broke a Qualification World Record in October during the Championship of the Americas, but just missed earning a quota when he finished in second place. Perry has emerged as one of the team’s most consistent skeet shooter alongside two-time Olympic champion Vincent Hancock (Eatonton, Georgia). Hancock and two-time Olympian and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Corey Cogdell-Unrein (Eagle River, Alaska) both declined opportunities to participate to allow their teammates to pursue the Olympic quotas, given they had already earned a quota themselves. 

“Selection for the Pan Am games was one of the toughest selection procedures I have been a part of,” Wallace said. “We shot on two very difficult and different ranges. And although the scores were the lowest I have seen in a while, consistency paid off in the end. Making the Pan Am team is a huge honor. It is second biggest Games that we can qualify for besides the Olympics. I hope we can knock this quota out of the way and I look forward to training for the upcoming selection matches.”

Categories: Press Releases, Pan American Games 2015
National Shooting Sports Foundation