Lagan/Christenson Earn Double Spring Selection Match Victories & Sanderson/Marsh Claim Top Honors
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (April 7, 2017)
The Rifle/Spring Selection Match concluded Thursday in Fort Benning, Georgia, with Alexis Lagan and Dempster Christenson exerting their pistol and rifle mastery while Elizabeth Marsh and three-time Olympian Keith Sanderson claimed victory in their respective smallbore (.22 caliber) disciplines.
Lagan and Christenson were two-time winners during the four-day event having previously earned Air Pistol and Air Rifle victories. Thursday was their turn in Sport Pistol and Three-Position Rifle. Lagan was three-point victor over Katelyn Abeln (Douglasville, Georgia) while Nathalie Tobar (East Northport, New York) was third. Christenson showcased he’s ready to compete for World Cup medals later this year with world-level performances on both guns. Having already earned top honors in Air Rifle Tuesday, Christenson used a great first day score of 1175 and a Finals victory to help push him to the Three-Position Rifle win over Tim Sherry (Highlands Ranch, Colorado) and 2012 Pistol Olympian Nick Mowrer (Butte, Montana).
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. In order for athletes to be funded to USA Shooting World Cups, they must achieve a Performance Standard Score (PSS) in their respective event.
A pair of 18-year-old phenoms earned top honors in Women’s Rifle. In Air, it was Emily Stith (Colorado Springs, Colorado) earlier in the week. On Thursday, it was Elizabeth Marsh (Searcy, Arkansas) in Three-Position. Six points was the margin of separation over Emily Holsopple (Wilcox, Pennsylvania) with 2015 Pan American Games Team member Hannah Black (Richmond, Virginia) finishing third. Marsh was the only competitor to shoot in the 580s both Qualification days and then earned a win in the Final to seal the win.
Three-time Olympian Keith Sanderson (Colorado Springs, Colorado) put a poor first-day performance behind him to earn a comfortable 12-point win over Alex Chichkov (Temple Terrace, Florida). Sanderson trailed Chickov by one after day one but put that to rest with a world-level score of 584 and a Finals win to close out the match.
Bolstered by a world-level qualifying score of 582 Tuesday and two Finals wins, Will Brown (Twin Falls, Idaho) earned a nine-point win over fellow National Team athlete James Hall (Anniston, Alabama) in Air Pistol.
Athletes earning World Cup status based on their Spring Selection Match results and based on PSS eligibility are as follows: Christenson, Marsh, Stith, Holsopple, Sanderson and Brown and Bryant Wallizer (Little Orleans, Maryland). Reigning Olympic gold medalist Ginny Thrasher (Springfield, Virginia) and her Olympic teammate Lucas Kozeniesky (Fairfax, Virginia) will compete as well as a coach selection. Athletes that finished within the top-three of the Spring Selection results and choosing to self-fund their World Cup participation include Black, Mowrer and Chichkov and Lauren Phillips (Seabeck, Washington).