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Teamwork In Air Concludes Winter Airgun Championships

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (December 3, 2017)

Mix in a little team fun for an otherwise individual sport and you’re bound to get some intrigue and fun.  That’s exactly what happened Sunday as mixed team competition concluded the 2017 Winter Airgun Championships Sunday at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. 

Mixed Team events in Air Rifle and Air Pistol will be a part of the Olympic program at the 2020 Olympic Games and competitors got their first competitive opportunity to try it out at the final match of the year.  In this match, all competitors shot 40 shots in Rifle and Pistol and the top five men’s scores paired with the top five women’s scores in an Open and Junior Final in each discipline.  

In Mixed Team Rifle, Bryant Wallizer (Little Orleans, Maryland) and Alison Weisz (Belgrade, Montana) were the top qualifiers with Weisz shooting the top score of the day with a 419.1, which was 1.8 points better than any other competitor male or female.  However, it was the Mindy Miles (Weatherford, Texas) show once in the Finals. Paired with Matt Rawlings (Wharton, Texas), it was the Texas Christian University (TCU) senior’s pinpoint accuracy that led the duo to the top of the podium.  Over the 24 shots in the Final, Miles shot a 252.5. That was the second time this weekend that elite score had been posted in a Finals as that was the same score earned by 2016 Olympic gold medalist Ginny Thrasher (Springfield, Virginia) in Friday’s Junior final.  Both those marks are above the current Finals World Record owned by China’s Mengyao Shi. Dempster Christenson (Sioux Falls, South Dakota) and Sarah Beard (Danville, Indiana) finished five-tenths behind the winning pair, while Wallizer and Weisz earned the bronze.

Miles air rifle talent really showed throughout the weekend as she was on the top podium spot each of the three days, earning the win on Day 1, earning the selection match victory on Day 2 and then carrying her team to victory on Day 3 in the new Mixed Team format.

In the Junior Mixed Team Rifle event, 16-year-old Will Shaner (Colorado Springs, Colorado) and TCU freshman Liz Marsh (Searcy, Arkansas) were the second-best qualifiers, but would go on to earn the victory once they moved on to the Finals.  Another TCU rifle athlete, Catherine Miller (Lakeland, Tennessee), competed with Jordan Williams (Colorado Springs, Colorado) to earn third.  

Shaner and Air Force sophomore Logan Ogden (Galway, New York) combined for the top Men’s Air Rifle showings. Ogden was the top qualifier Friday, setting a new junior record with a score of 627.1 and then earned the top spot that same day in the junior division. He’d go on to earn the selection match victory as well on Day 2. Shaner finished second in the junior ranks Friday, finished third in overall selection while setting a J2 (15-17 years old) national record on Saturday and then closed things in proper fashion Sunday.

Teresa Meyer Chambers and Nick Mowrer congratulate each other after winning the Mixed Team Air Pistol competition Sunday.There was some baby power helping push Nick Mowrer (Butte, Montana) and Teresa Meyer Chambers (Dearborn, Michigan) to the top of the podium in Mixed Team Air Pistol. Mowrer’s daughter, Jeanice, and Meyer Chambers’ daughter, Marilyn, were proud participants in the medal ceremony that followed.  Mowrer was a dominant force in the Final, with a 10.0 average over 24 shots that saw him just .9 points away from a world-record level Finals score. The duo of Alexis Lagan (Boulder City, Nevada) and James Hall (Anniston, Alabama) was second while Helen Oh (Walnut, California) and Jason Herndon (Missoula, Montana) were third.

Lagan and Mowrer earned the most accolades throughout the weekend in Air Pistol.  On the way to earning top selection match honors, Lagan was the top qualifier each day and earned each Finals win, something no other competitor in either discipline managed to achieve. Mowrer was the selection match victor while also managing a third-place finish in Friday’s opening match after earning the top Qualification score. 

In Junior Mixed Team Pistol, Maria Tsarik (Lake Bluff, Illinois) and Kyler Swisher (Jonestown, Pennsylvania) ran away with the top spot, outdistancing second-place finishers Katelyn Abeln (Douglasville, Georgia) and Charles Platt (Colorado Springs, Colorado) by 15.6 points, easily the greatest spread in any of the four Mixed Team Finals. Sarah Choe (Los Angeles, California) and Jack Leverett (Bainbridge, Georgia) finished third.

More than 400 competitors competed in the three-day Air Rifle and Air Pistol match at the Olympic Shooting Center and temporary ranges on the Olympic Training Center complex. The match served as part one of two in the selection process for upcoming ISSF World Cups, Championship of the Americas (CAT Games) and the ISSF World Championship for the Open division (athletes over age 21). The selection points from this competition will carry over to the second part of Airgun selection that will take place at the Spring Selection Match, March 26-30 in Fort Benning, Georgia. Junior competitors for the ISSF World Championship will be decided at the National Junior Olympic Shooting Championship in Colorado Springs in April.

2017 WAG RESULTS:  DAY 1 | DAY 2 | DAY 3

2017 WAG PHOTOS:  DAY 1 | DAY 2 | DAY 3  

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National Shooting Sports Foundation