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Junior Skeet Shooters Eclipse World’s Best in Italy

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (August 21, 2017)

Katie Jacob knocked off the reigning World Champion to earn her second straight Junior World Cup gold. Photo courtesy of ISSF.Finding their own path of totality was the USA Shooting’s contingent of skeet shooters during the 2017 International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) Junior World Cup that concluded Monday in Porpetto, Italy.  All told, the junior skeet squad dotted the top of the leaderboard with gold and silver medals along with a fourth, a pair of sixths and a seventh. 

Eighteen-year-old Katie Jacob (Rochester, Michigan) led the charge with a gold medal in Women’s Skeet on Sunday, highlighting a day in which all three women earned a Finals berth.  Having won back-to-back Junior World Cup gold medals, Jacob proves once again that she’s one of the most promising talents in a long-line of top female skeet competitors the U.S. has currently.  She made Final by shooting a 70/75, then went on to win her third international medal by setting a new Junior Finals World Record with a 47/60, besting the previous one by six target and defeating her next closest competitor and 2015 World Champion, China’s Yufei Che, by three in the end. 

Competing in her first international competition didn’t prove too daunting for 16-year-old Austen Smith (Keller, Texas) as shown by her fourth-place finish.  Currently coached by two-time Olympic gold medalist Vincent Hancock (Eatonton, Georgia), Smith qualified fourth with a 69 and then shot 29/40 in to finish with the same exact result following the Final. Seventeen-year-old Sam Simonton (Gainesville, Georgia) earned a spot in the Finals as well following a qualifying score of 68.  She was first eliminated in the Final after missing on seven of her first 20 targets.     

The U.S. Women earned the top team score.  

Christian Elliott earned his first career international podium in Men's Skeet Monday to conclude Jr. World Cup action from Porpetto, Italy. Photo courtesy of ISSF.Earlier today, it was 19-year-old U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) Christian Elliott (Greenwood, Indiana) earning his way onto his first international skeet podium with a silver medal. Elliott shot a 119/125 to qualify including three perfect rounds.  He then was in a highly-competitive Final, missing just five targets out of 60 tries, but only to be outdone by Italian Elia Sdruccioli who missed just three targets altogether to earn both a junior world record and the win. 

Another Hancock protégé, Eli Ellis (College Station, Texas) earned a finals appearance as well and finished sixth in his first international showing as a 16-year-old. Nic Moschetti (Broomfield, Colorado) nearly made it another three skeet Finalists for Team USA, dropping his second target in the shoot-off to finish seventh.  

The U.S. Men earned the second-best team score behind Italy. 

The event began with Women’s and Men’s Trap last week.  All three U.S. women finished inside the top-20 led by Emma Williams (Savannah, Tennessee) in 15thDale Royer (Jackson, Montana), who had battled pneumonia prior to his trip, finished 19th overall in men’s action.   

Combining in the Mixed Team Trap event, the one proposed for Olympic competition in 2020, Williams and Sevin Layer (Palm Harbor, Florida) teamed up to finish fourth overall in the bronze-medal match. Layer finished 32nd in the Men’s event. 

The event featured 220 athletes participating from 33 nations and saw the Italians showcase their strength on their home turf with a combined six medals, with two of each color. Team USA was second in the overall medal race.  Four new junior world records were set during the Junior World Cup. 

Coaches for the U.S. squad included Chad Whittenburg (Spring Hill, Tennessee), Hank Garvey (Newburyport, Massachusetts) and Hancock.    

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