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Vizzi, Hancock Claim Skeet Titles to Close USA Shooting National Championships for Shotgun

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (July 17, 2017)

More than a week of intense competition came to a dramatic close today at the International Shooting Park as Dania Vizzi and Vincent Hancock were crowned Skeet National Champions at the 2017 USA Shooting National Championships for Shotgun.

By the conclusion of Qualification, Vizzi (Odessa, Florida, pictured right) had set a National Record, hitting 246/250 targets presented over the four days of competition.

“I finished my last target, and my dad comes running on the field - he always flanks for me when I run a 25 - and I just thought ‘Oh, you’re so excited to flank for me’ and he said I had just shot the national record!” Vizzi said, adding that her father gathered everyone together for a photo with the referee. “I had no idea going into it that it was a new record, but it was fun!”

Vizzi entered the Final with a seven-target lead on eventual silver medalist Caitlin Connor (Winnfield, Louisiana). Though Connor would hit the most targets of any athlete in the Final (57/60), it wasn’t quite enough to catch Vizzi’s overall total of 300 (Qualification and Final targets). The bronze medal, however, was decided in a three-way shootoff among Junior shooting phenoms Sam Simonton (Gainesville, Georgia), Katie Jacob (Rochester, Michigan) and 15-year-old Austen Smith (Keller, Texas). Smith was eliminated in the shootoff nine targets in, and Simonton would eventually best Jacob for the Open bronze medal, 12-11.

Just two days earlier, Vizzi also earned her way onto her first Open team that will compete at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Championship for Shotgun later next month in Moscow, Russia. Vizzi is a three-time World Championship Junior medalist (gold in 2014, silver in 2013 and bronze in 2015). Read more about the Women’s Skeet athletes who will compete at the World Championship.

Jacob (pictured right), however, would be forced into a shootoff once again, this time for the Junior National Championship title against Smith. Jacob bested Smith 4-3 in the shootoff to claim gold. Smith won the Junior Women’s silver and Sydney Carson (North Liberty, Indiana) won Junior Women’s bronze. Jacob, Smith and Simonton also earned slots on the Junior Team for the ISSF World Championship – read more here.

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Hancock (Eatonton, Georgia) was once again in winning form, winning gold in Men’s Skeet. Hancock, who had taken the year off from international competition following the 2016 Olympic Games, said he was using this National Championship to make sure he was where he needed to be before the next selection match this Fall.

“I started training again when I got my gun in May, so I’ve really only been shooting about two months,” Hancock said. “When I got back from the World Cup Finals in October, I didn’t really shoot again until I got my gun back in May and been pounding it out ever since then. Just trying to get used to this new gun, new moves, new everything, really. Getting used to the new Final system too; that’s been a bit of an adjustment. Also, going to 30-inch barrels versus 28 – which I’ve shot since I was 13 – has really helped me out in certain areas. Looking forward to the rest of the year, and to what the next three years will bring!”

Hancock (pictured right) entered today’s Final tied with Hayden Stewart (U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit/Columbia, Tennessee) at 247 targets.  Once in the Final, Stewart hit 55/60 targets, but Hancock would only drop one to win the gold medal. Stewart claimed silver and 15-year-old Alex Ahlin (Bamberg, South Carolina) won bronze in a shootoff with Robert Johnson (Phoenix, Arizona), 10-9.

Christian Elliott (USAMU/Greenwood, Indiana, pictured right) won the Junior Men’s gold medal by one target, leaving silver and bronze to be determined in a shootoff between Trey Wright (Albany, Georgia) and Eli Christman (Hixson, Tennessee).  Wright would eventually win silver by winning the shootoff, 17-16.

More than 230 athletes from across the country descended on the International Shooting Park to compete for World Championship Team slots and National Championship titles in Trap and Skeet.

Complete results from this match: http://www.usashooting.org/library/Competitions/0_2017/SG_Natls/Results/FINAL_SG_Nationals_Results.xlsx.

Download images from today’s action at the USA Shooting National Championships for Shotgun: https://www.flickr.com/gp/usashooting/M4873t

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