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Winter Airgun Championships Conclude with Stout Olympian & Junior Showing

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (December 4, 2016)

The final competition of a busy 2016 came to a rousing conclusion as the 2016 Winter Airgun Championship (WAG) concluded Sunday at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  

NC State Senior & 2016 Olympian Lucas Kozeniesky was the lone Men's Air Rifle athlete to earn three straight podiums at the 2016 Winter Airgun Championships.Three 2016 Olympians showcased their overall strength with pistol athlete Will Brown (Twin Falls, Idaho) and rifle athlete Lucas Kozeniesky (Fairfax, Virginia) winning the cumulative battle in their respective disciplines. Kozeniesky’s rifle teammate Dan Lowe (U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit/Olympia, Washington) was second. Pistol Olympian Jay Shi (Phoenix, Arizona) was fourth overall, succumbing to 2012 Olympian Nick Mowrer (Butte, Montana) and four-time Olympian and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Jason Turner (Rochester, New York). Unofficial cumulative scoring figures in all three day’s Qualification scores, plus any bonus points earned in Finals finishes in each of the three days of competition.

Another compelling storyline had to be the junior uprising showcased throughout the match with 12 young athletes earning a spot inside the top-eight in cumulative scoring.  Nowhere was that success more prominent than in Women’s Air Rifle where 18-year-old Elizabeth Marsh (Searcy, Arkansas) finished second overall, and a junior podium sweep in the Open division Friday by National Training Center Junior athletes Macey Way, Ruby Gomes and Emily Stith.  Texas Christian University junior Mindy Miles (Weatherford, Texas) was dominant in the Junior ranks as the only athlete in the field to win her respective discipline all three days. 

The best battle of the weekend may have been in the closing Finals match of Women’s Junior Air Rifle.  Marsh had controlled the 24-shot Final from the get go until the final 24th shot. Holding a slim .8-point advantage before the final series (two shots), Marsh would average a 9.65 including a 9.3 on her final shot while Miles flourished with a pair of 10.5s (out of 10.9) to earn the hard fought .9-point victory.  Ohio State freshman Rhiann Travis (Pooleville, Texas) was third.  Miles three victories led her to a 5.4 advantage over Marsh in the overall ranking for the combined three days of action. Murray State sophomore Alathea Sellars (Puryear, Tennessee) was third overall. Marsh’s scores of 418.1 on Saturday and 417.8 on Sunday were both match highs among all juniors.

More recaps for each discipline are below.

Men’s Air Pistol

2016 Olympian Will Brown in action at the 2016 Winter Airgun ChampionshipsIt was three different days and three different winners in Men’s Air Pistol action.  James Hall (Anniston, Alabama) was Sunday’s winner, which gave him his first podium finish of this match.  After an impressive score of 384 in qualifying, Brown took home second to give him a spot on each step of the podium throughout the weekend.  He was third Friday, and walked away with a first-place spot on Saturday to be the only competitor to earn a podium finish every day of competition.  Alex Chichkov (Temple Terrace, Florida) finished third Sunday to earn his first podium finish as well. Mowrer put up a world-level score of 384 in qualifying today but would have to settle for fourth.  Top qualifying score over the three days was the 384 turned in by both Brown and Mowrer Sunday.

Hoping for a golden sweep on his home range was National Training Center Junior athlete Charles Platt, but Jack Leverett (Bainbridge, Georgia) had other ideas. Platt had earned victories in both Friday and Saturday’s match and was looking good for a third before Leverett made a strong late push in the Final to earn a victory and his first podium of the three-day match.  Still, Platt laid down one of the best match performances of all competitors and was the only junior competitor to earn a podium spot all three days. Justin Ahn (Diamond Bar, California) was third on Sunday to go along with the third-place finish he earned Friday as well.  His qualifying score of 565 was also good enough to get him into the Open Final where he would finish seventh.  2016 Junior Olympic Champion Anthony McCollum (Purdin, Missouri) was a Finalist in both divisions as well, finishing eighth in Open and seventh in Junior. Today’s qualification score of 573 was match high and helped lead him to the top cumulative rank.

Men’s Air Rifle

Lowe was looking for a first-place sweep Sunday, but was only able to manage a fourth-place finish.  Instead, it was Murray State junior Ivan Roe (Manhattan, Montana) who earned the top spot and a second podium finish on the weekend.  It was a nice rebound from the 14th-place result Saturday following a second-place finish to begin the match Friday.  North Carolina State senior Kozeniesky (Fairfax, Virginia) walks away as the lone rifle competitor in the Open Division to earn a podium all three days.  He finished second the last two days to go along with a third-place result Friday. Dempster Christenson (Sioux Falls, South Dakota) picked up his first top-three finish with a bronze-medal today.  Kozeniesky had the match-high qualification score on the event’s first day with a 625.7.

Air Force Academy sophomore Spencer Cap (Cranbury, New Jersey) was impressive throughout the weekend in Men’s Junior Air Rifle, earning two silver medals and then capping it off with a gold-medal performance Sunday.  Cap consistently shot deep 10s throughout the Finals to edge high school junior Mark Amdahl (Albuquerque, New Mexico) Sunday and in cumulative rank by 11.4 points. Roe’s qualification score Sunday of 623.6 was a match high result.

Women’s Air Pistol

One shot away from being eliminated in fourth-place position, reigning National Champion Alexis Lagan (Las Vegas, Nevada) showed her finals match grit and shot her way all the up to a first-place podium on WAG’s final day.  For Lagan, it was the exclamation point on a terrific match that included two other second-place finishes.  A gold-medal Sunday earned her a one-point cumulative match victory over Courtney Anthony (Lexington, Nebraska).  Nathalia Tobar (East Northport, New York) would finish second Sunday to Lagan, to also earn a top-three finish each of the three days including a win Friday and bronze on Saturday. Anthony earned a score of 384 and 385 respectively to top match qualification scores. 

“It was a slow start,” said Lagan about her day and Final.  “It took a lot of mental discipline to dig for every ounce of energy I had left for today.  Above everything else, I am very pleased all my hours of training finals paid off, especially today.”

Sarah Choe (Los Angeles, California) finished first Sunday in Junior Women’s Air Pistol after winning the main event Saturday.  Rachel Cantrell (Boise, Idaho) was second followed by overall match victor Helen Oh (Walnut, California), who finished first each of the first two days. Oh and Choe tied for the highest qualification shot throughout the weekend with matching scores of 376.

Women’s Air Rifle

Sagen Maddalena (Groveland, California) was the match winner today earning victory by 2.9 points in the Final over Marsh. Her wins on Saturday and Sunday and a fourth-place finish Friday led her to top overall match honors over Marsh with Sarah Beard (Danville, Indiana) in third. Beard’s qualification score of 418.9 on Saturday was a match high in this event. 

Day 3 Results | Day 2 Results | Day 1 Results

Day 3 Photos | Day 2 Photos | Day 1 Photos

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