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Fear the Beard: Rifle Athlete Sarah Beard Earns Second National Title & Third Overall Medal with 3P Win

FORT BENNING, Georgia (June 30, 2015)

Sarah Beard left her mark on the 2015 USA Shooting National Championships, something that’s more routine than not these days. 

Tuesday's title run in Women’s Three-Position Rifle cemented another great Nationals performance with Beard (Danville, Indiana) also claiming a national title in Air Rifle (Friday) while also finishing runner-up in Prone (Sunday).  Three new medals added to a five-year medal haul in Fort Benning, Georgia, that now includes 15 since 2011, including seven national titles.  This year’s run included victories in all four finals she competed in, adding to her tremendous week.

“I’m very happy about how this week of Nationals went,” Beard said.  “Of course, a third gold medal would have been even more awesome, but I’ve been training Air Rifle and 3P quite a bit, and it’s paid off.  I’m also elated to have won all four finals, and I think it’s a great training match for Azerbaijan, as it pointed out a few things I need to work on before then.  I’m super thankful for all the positive coaching and encouragement I’ve received the past few months, and it’s definitely showing.”

Joining her on the podium was U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) athlete Erin McNeil (Fort Wayne, Indiana) and Amy Sowash (Richmond, Kentucky).

Beard isn’t the only female rifle shooter having a great week.  Eighteen-year-old Ginny Thrasher (Springfield, Virginia) put her stamp on these Championships as well with a five-medal performance including today’s gold-medal in the junior Three-Position rifle event.  Bound for West Virginia University later this summer, Thrasher earned two open medals and three junior medals including another national title in Air Rifle.  Her performance also earned her National Team status for USA Shooting.  It could have been more as she was just two points out of earning the bronze medal in the open class.

Morgan Phillips (Salisbury, Maryland) was today’s junior silver medalist and thus earned her jacket as the newest member of the USA Shooting National Junior Team. Ariana Grabowski (Beaver, Pennsylvania) was third.

Olympic Training Center resident athletes Sarah Beard and Dempster Christenson earned National Titles Tuesday during the 2015 USA Shooting National Championships.A three-time Nationals runner-up, Dempster Christenson (Sioux Falls, South Dakota) finally earned his first national title and it came in Men’s Air Rifle with a dominant performance from start to finish.  He posted top scores in both qualification matches and earned victories in both finals. He defeated 2014 National Champion Ryan Anderson (Wasilla, Alaska) who earned the silver while Dan Lowe (USAMU/Olympia, Washington) earned the bronze medal for the second straight year.

On the junior side of Air Rifle, it was Ian Foos (Bellevue, Ohio), backed by a big 620.7 qualification score today, who earned the junior national title. Michael Steinel (Lowell, Ohio) earned a Finals win on his way to the silver medal with Murray State University Rifle product Ivan Roe (Manhattan, Montana) earning a bronze medal to go along with the silver he earned in Three-Position Rifle.

Tuesday also saw the start of Men’s Free and Women’s Sport Pistol. Nick Mowrer (Butte, Montana), a 2012 Olympian in Free Pistol, is tied with James Henderson (USAMU/Midland, Georgia) with Greg Markowski (USAMU/Midland, Georgia) sitting in third, four points back. One point separates the top three women in sport pistol with two-time Olympian Enkelejda Shehaj (Naples, Florida) currently holding the lead ahead of 2012 Olympian Sandra Uptagrafft (Phenix City, Alabama) and 2008 Olympian Brenda Silva (Snowflake, Arizona).

The 2015 USA Shooting National Championships end Wednesday with the conclusion of Free and Sport Pistol along with a Paralympic Prone Air Rifle event.  Athletes earning top-three finishes in open category Olympic events are qualified for a spot on the team that will compete in the World Cup later this summer in Gabala, Azerbaijan.  

 For full National Championship results, click here. Check out all the photos on Flickr at www.flickr.com/usashooting.

Categories: Press Releases, 2015 USA Shooting Rifle/Pistol National Championships
National Shooting Sports Foundation