Brown, Lagan, Stith and Christenson Earn Spring Selection Match Victories
FORT BENNING, Georgia (April 4, 2017)
Olympian Will Brown, junior standout Emily Stith and reigning National Champions Dempster Christenson and Alexis Lagan all earned victories to close out the airgun portion of USA Shooting’s Rifle/Pistol Spring Selection Match Tuesday in Fort Benning, Georgia.
A top-two performance at the home of the U.S. Marksmanship Unit could possibly earn each athlete a trip to Munich, Germany or Gabala, Azerbaijan to compete in the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cups. This match is incorporating two courses of fire and two separate Finals in each of the eight contested events. World Cup slots earned through the selection process are based on the aggregate score from each course of fire plus the points earned from each Final.
Bolstered by a world-level qualifying score of 582 today and two Finals wins, Brown (Twin Falls, Idaho) earned a nine-point win over fellow National Team athlete James Hall (Anniston, Alabama). The degree of separation was only two points after Monday’s qualification and Final, but Brown asserted himself with another Finals win after Hall could manage just a sixth-place finish after a second-best 580 in Qualification. Alex Chichkov (Temple Terrace, Florida) was third. Brown’s qualifying score of 582 hit USA Shooting’s Performance Standard Score (PSS) mark as well. Obtaining this score level helps determine World Cup funding eligibility.
The emergence of USA Shooting’s junior talent continues with the arrival of 18-year-old Emily Stith (Colorado Springs, Colorado). An age-level Junior Olympic champion in 2016, she’s already had a big 2017 and her biggest events are still to come. Now, you can add an opportunity to compete in her first World Cup to that list. The National Training Center (NTC) Junior Club member earned the invitation on the strength of a 419.3 she shot in Women’s Air Rifle Qualification Tuesday, 6.5 points better than her first-round score. That mark was three points better than any of the other six competitors in the field and is the second PSS score she’s shot to begin the year. Stith demonstrated her strength in the Finals as well earning two wins there too. Fellow NTC Jr. Club teammate Ruby Gomes (Colorado Springs, Colorado) finish second, 7.9 points back. Lauren Phillips (Seabeck, Washington) was third.
In Men’s Air Rifle, Dempster Christenson (Sioux Falls, South Dakota) was 13.3 points better overall than second-place finisher Bryant Wallizer (Little Orleans, Maryland). He reached that advantage by virtue of the event’s top two Qualification scores. On Tuesday, he reached 630.4, which was 6.6 points better than his first-round score and 7.4 points better than any other competitor. Patrick Sunderman (Farmington, Minnesota) was third while 2016 Olympian Lucas Kozeniesky (Fairfax, Virginia) finished fifth behind George Norton (Salina, Kansas).
Alexis Lagan (Las Vegas, Nevada) defended her Air Pistol national title with a three-point win over Nathalia Tobar (East Northport, New York). The two were tied in overall Qualification scores, but Lagan earned the victory with strong first-place finishes in each Final. Kellie Foster (Rockdale, Texas) finished third.
Two days of Qualification and Finals will now follow in the other four Rifle/Pistol events including Men’s and Women’s Three-Position Rifle, Men’s Rapid Fire Pistol and Women’s Sport Pistol.